© 5/24/14 Denise Pass
“Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! It is necessary that stumbling blocks come, but woe to the person through whom they come.”
My heart stopped as I read those words, seemingly as if I had never seen them, but I had read this verse so many times before – yet this time something new apprehended my soul. “It is NECESSARY that stumbling blocks come”. Why? Why must we ever endure or be tempted by evil? What fruit can that bear in the life of the believer? If we continue on in this passage, a radical ideology is presented – if something causes us to stumble, we must cut it off – sever it, as it were, from our life, to prevent damnation. Likened to an analogy of a gardener, we can see the importance of removing weeds or other hindrances that impede growth; but oftentimes we cherish those very stumbling blocks or weeds that have grown in our life and do not recognize them for the vile enemy of our souls that they are. Why would our loving, gracious God allow a stumbling block to be present in our lives? James tells us that God cannot be tempted by evil nor does He tempt anyone; yet in this fallen world we will have opportunities to choose freedom through obedience or enslavement through permitting a stumbling block to rule over us. How would our faith be proved genuine, if it were not for overcoming an obstacle and choosing to believe God over our present circumstances? How would the character be forged, if not through the exercising of our will, triumphing over our sinful tendencies? Where would our relationship with God be, if we did not cleave to Him and cry out when tested? It is difficult to be thankful for stumbling blocks, but if we seek God and His wisdom in the midst, the very stumbling block can become a step instead. A step toward becoming more like Christ. A step toward healing by overcoming. A step out of difficult circumstances by going through it, rather than avoiding it. Ironically, Jesus was the benign stumbling block – for the religious Who did not recognize Him as God. May stumbling blocks not create resentment toward our Creator but help us instead to see our need of our Savior, Who promises to use all things together for good for those who love Him.
Dear God, may we not harbor in our hearts disdain for hardships or stumbling blocks, but instead gratitude for your Wisdom in allowing the insidious stumbling block in!