Some people say there is a good reason my last name is “Tripp”. You see I have a tendency to trip over things. Sometimes it’s a rug corner or an empty pair of shoes. But at times I will find myself banging into a wall or tripping over thin air. I guess you could say stumbling for me is a way of life. It certainly keeps things interesting.
Jesus had an occasion when someone tried to make Him stumble. What does trying to make Jesus stumble look like? It looks like telling Jesus He should not suffer and die for us. Who would do such a thing? It was Peter, perhaps Jesus’ most passionate and dedicated disciple. Matthew 16 tells us that Jesus began to explain to the disciples that His goal in ministry was to suffer, die and rise again. The thought of Jesus dying was painful news to the disciples so Peter cried out to Jesus “ Never lord! This shall never happen to you!”
As a lover of Christ myself, I have to tell you that I can see where Peter was coming from. After having lived side by side with Jesus for years, Peter was probably frightened of life without Him. I really believe Peter had the best intentions but Peter’s love for Jesus didn’t stop the negativity of His words. What did Jesus think of Peter’s words? Jesus looked at Peter and said “Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to me.” A stumbling block? Doesn’t that sound a little harsh? How was Peter being a stumbling block?
Picture it this way. Imagine Satan has spent all of Jesus’ earthly ministry trying to accomplish one goal: Don’t let Jesus die on the cross. And what does Peter say to Jesus? Exactly what Satan wants to have happen. Peter’s desire for Jesus not to die would be a dream come true for Satan.
The scary message of this story is that people that love us and have the best intentions for us can get in the way of us taking God’s path for us. Our loved ones can become stumbling blocks. How? Because they are scared of what will happen if we follow God’s plan. God would never ask us to sin but He might ask us to risk being hurt, rejected or discouraged. After all, each of these things can happen on God’s path. Sometimes God asks us to quit the well-paying job and take the low paying one. Sometimes He asks us to move away from friends and family and start out on our own. Sometimes God even asks us to marry a person the family doesn’t like. God’s path is sometimes scary, and risky, and if there is one thing we don’t like for those we love it’s anything scary and risky. So we speak from our fears instead of from our prayers.
So what can we do? Pray for a hunger to know not only God’s will for our lives but for God to show our role in the lives of those we love. It’s not easy to leave room in our relationships for God to do His work. Just remember: even it it’s for someone we love, God’s plan is always better than ours.