Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:23-29 (NRSV)
Our steps are made firm by the Lord, when he delights in our way; though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong, for the Lord holds us by the hand. Psalm 37: 23-24 (NRSV)
When Ken Claar, from Idaho, was young, he used to visit his grandparents with his brother. They lived in a rural area near a narrow rail-road track. Ken and his brother used to walk along it and explore. One day, when Ken was six years old, he heard a strange sound and went over into a thicket of bushes and blackberry vines to investigate. The sound was coming from a hornet's nest. Ken's brother, who was 12, rushed in and untangled Ken from the vines, ignoring all the stings he was getting. He freed Ken and took him to Grandma's house, where Ken was treated for the stings. After Ken had been cared for, did he discovered that his brother had ended up with twice as many stings as Ken had and still had hornets in his jacket attacking his arms.
Though Ken's brother has since passed on, Ken is reminded that he still has a protector in Christ. Jesus freely went to his death to save us. And He still helps us whenever we get into "nest of hornets" that we can't seem to escape. Psalm 37: 24 is God's promise and our hope for those blackberry-vine days.
This story also tells us that sometimes when we stumble, we still have to go through pain and suffering before our "stings" are healed, but God is always there to help us along.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for all the times that you have helped us through difficult situations. Help us to trust in your promise to uphold us when we stumble, in Jesus' name, amen.