If there was one thing I learned from our time living with and caring for Jenn’s grandfather, it was that sometimes you just have to “roll with the punches.” Every time he’d take a fall, he’d get himself up, smile and say, “I’m OK. I rolled with the punches.” I really didn’t know exactly what that phrase meant but I understood that he was communicating that, yeah, he took a fall but the fall didn’t get the best of him. He landed without seriously getting hurt and was able to get back to his feet. He didn’t dwell on the fall. He just picked himself up and moved on.
The Apostle Peter was another man that had a few falls in his life. He denied Jesus three times! He had to be rebuked by both Paul and Jesus. But there’s one failure in particular that I identify with personally. There was that time when Peter was actually walking on water. Can you believe that? Walking on water. I can’t begin to imagine what that was like because I even swim like a stone. But there he was, looking right at Jesus as he stepped out of the boat and on to the sea. Then something happened to Peter shortly after taking his first steps. Peter took his eyes off his Savior and set his gaze upon the sea beneath his feet. And what happened? He began to sink. In fear and desperation, Peter cried out to Jesus to come and rescue him. And guess what. He did.
Sometimes we fail to turn to God for help because we feel as though we’ve messed up too bad or too often. But God knows we’re going to mess up from time to time. Whenever we find ourselves slipping beneath the waves, He is always right there to help us up. Why? Because he’s a good Father. What do you do when your child falls down and gets hurt? Do you laugh at him or her? Do just walk away? No. Of course not. You help them up. You tend to their wounds. You do what any good parent would do and God is no different. Our falls may take us down but God will never let them take us out.
At the end, my wife’s grandfather’s health was failing and he too found himself sinking down beneath the waves of life. His biggest failure to that point was failing to place his trust in Jesus. But, as he approached the final days of his life, he realized this was a fall that he couldn’t get up from on his own. It was only when he was at his weakest that he finally cried out “Help me Lord!”. And you know what? Jesus did. Jesus pulled him out of his sin and raised him up to be with Him for all eternity.
Everyone of us falls short of the glory of God. But God doesn’t want to rub our noses in our mistakes. He wants to help us up. He wants to heal our wounds. Life is going to throw its best punches at us but in Christ we have the strength to roll with those punches and never get knocked out.
I just had a rough night and Max’s words came to mind: Roll with the Punches, Jerry. Though my situation wasn’t really about sin, I realized that how we deal with personal failures and sins are often the same. I think it’s natural to want to dwell on our failures, but God desires for us to turn from them, learn from them and simply walk away from them. Whenever guilt for past failures keeps flooding into our thoughts, we need to remember that it isn’t God that’s punishing us. It’s us. God has moved on. Our sin is as far as the East is from the West. We just need to move on too.