Thought for the Day by Toby Parsons (All Hallows’)
Readings: Romans 11:1-12
Stumbling but not falling
“What they sought so earnestly they did not obtain.”
I wonder if this sentiment from today’s passage in Romans 11 resonates with you?
Have you thrown your heart and soul into planning something, only for it to all fall apart? Have you revised incredibly hard, but not got the exam results you hoped for? Did you feel on Monday that the efforts to move on from covid have been frustrated, at least for another four weeks?
We don’t always get what we want. And sometimes it’s not entirely clear why.
In today’s reading, most of the Israelites end up losing their focus and missing the target. Unless you were one of the 7,000 who were particularly blessed by God’s grace, you’d have found it all going rather wrong.
And if we stopped reading at verse 10, we might go into the rest of our day burdened by an image of darkened eyes and bent backs.
But Paul goes on to ask – did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery?
And we can take heart in the answer – not at all!
The stumbling of some led to the salvation of others. It spread the message of God beyond the Israelites and helped shape a more inclusive faith. And not only did it bring these riches at the time, it promised far greater things to come for everyone, whether Israelite or Gentile.
We will inevitably stumble – even when we try our hardest. But God can and does work with that, drawing out the good from each situation. We don’t always see it straight away. But it’s there.
And it’s just a taster of what’s to come, when God makes all things new and our stumbling ceases.