Three Times a Charm

Published on Aug 19th, 2015 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
Three Times a Charm

Three Times a Charm?

I was just speaking with a friend of mine who broke a finger and pulled an arm muscle falling off of a ladder. I was feeling pretty sympathetic toward him until he told me that he had fallen off the ladder three times that day before he really got hurt. Now, I admit that I do not have the whole story and I am sure that what he was doing needed to get done and that even though it was not entirely safe he felt sure enough that he would be OK. He was wrong. Even though my sympathy level went down a notch or two I still feel empathy for him. I have one section of my gutters that I have to clean where the ladder is leaning one way, I am leaning the other and then reaching back to help steady the ladder. I have fallen off several times but it needs to get done and so I do it. I could call my wife and have her hold the ladder, I could brace stuff under the ladder, or I could hire someone to clean the gutters but by the time I do all that I can lean and reach, fall a few times, and get the gutters clean. It really is not problem…until I can’t use my arm for several months because I have pulled a muscle like my friend did. Why do we do things like this? Why do we scoff at people who take the time to place things under the ladder to make it safe and shout things like, “Safety third?”

Within our sinful nature is this wicked thought that we are in control and that we can handle things. It gets us in trouble all the time. If you think about though, it is also what keeps us from cowering in a corner all day in fear. We face the day confident we can handle what needs to be done. If we really understood how much we do not control in our lives we would never get out of bed. For that matter, even bed would not be very safe. We do not control bed bugs, or lightning strikes, or breathing…but we know that we can’t cower in bed all day so we convince ourselves that we are in control and we bravely face the world. When we are faced with a challenge we risk everything and just go for it! When the ladder is leaning and we are counterbalancing the ladder by leaning the other way we give ourselves the illusion that all will be OK. The bad part is that often we are OK. Often we do seem to handle things pretty well. I have done my ladder trick several years in a row and I have not gotten hurt. You have driven to work hundreds of times and have been OK. I have gotten out of bed for 55 years and have only fallen back on the bed one time from vertigo. We live our lives each day and we handle hundreds of things and we start convincing ourselves that we are in control. But then our friend falls off a ladder and it reminds us that we really are not as in control as we think.

Proverbs 3:25,25 says, “Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.” That is not a subtle shift in thinking. That is a huge difference in whom you are trusting in each day. My confidence needs to be the LORD. It is in all caps because that is the name of God that would remind the people of Israel that God was a covenant keeping God. They could live in confidence because they knew that God would keep his promises. I love the way the way the Proverb is written…”the LORD will be your confidence”. He personally is my confidence. It is not just that I have confidence in him but that he is my confidence. My abilities, my strength, my thinking, my anything will always fall short. He will never fall short.

So my friend fell off the ladder three times and then finally hurt himself. Would he have not gotten hurt if he would have had greater confidence in God? Paul says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. No, those are gross misinterpretations of those truths. He fell, three times, because of a less than wise decision to try to accomplish something that he probably should have had help with or should have waited until he had the proper equipment. It was a good reminder of our frailty as humans and our inability to do it all. We must always remember that the Lord is our confidence, our strength, and our protector. It allows us to face each day with courage and should remind us to stop and give thanks that he is in control and we are not.


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