I did a stupid thing tonight. It eventually worked out okay but it was a little scary. As you know, I like to fish in the lake bordering our backyard and over the last several months, the water level has been dropping – to the point where there is about a 5 foot drop into the mud from the edge of our property. Since we are about to change the clocks this week-end, which will make it dark by the time I get home from work, I thought that it would be nice to go out and see if I could catch a largemouth bass before the sun went down.
The water was perfectly still and it was one of those ideal evenings. To cut to the chase, I caught the largest bass I have landed to date – a tick under 5#. I was thrilled. Now I am a “catch and release” guy so I netted the fish, removed the hook and was trying to get it back in the lake. Well, I couldn’t reach far enough to release him – I tried to climb down to the edge, making sure the fish was safely returned to the lake.
I slipped and fell – about 5 feet in all. I landed with both feet in the mud and my knees sinking into the gooey seaweed and muck. I was able to revive my catch and release it, but I was a little sore after my fall. I looked for a way to get back up, but it was a rather steep drop and let’s face it, I’m not quite as agile as I used to be. I couldn’t find any easy way to get up the retaining wall and I looked around to see if there was a neighbor out who could assist me. I thought about calling Janet on my cell phone, but she has been under the weather and there wasn’t much that she could have done anyway.
Finally, a little way down from where I fell, I saw a wooden crossbar that allowed me to eventually get back up to our yard. It had been a long drop and I was beginning to wonder if I would be successful getting out. Now, I’m sure that you know where this is going…
From a faith based perspective, it is very easy to lose our footing as well. If that happens, we can end up slipping a long way down. In fact, if we don’t have a relationship with God, then we will never get out of the hole and we can end up eternally separated from our Savior, the Creator of the universe. Because when you fall, in a spiritual perspective, you just can’t pull yourself out. You need people who care for you and can help you. Of course, God is the ultimate source of strength and recovery.
The verse for this evening is a long one, from 2Pet. 2:4-9, “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.”
In short, Peter is telling us that God has the ability to judge men and also to rescue them from trials. Likewise, he can banish the unrighteous and separate them eternally from Himself. My encouragement this evening is to make sure that you are on sure footing with your faith life. My prayer is that if you ever lose your way, you will have the presence of mind to look up and ask the Lord for a hand. After all, it’s a long way down and it’s no fun to be stuck in a hole – I can attest to that! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…