The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.
Proverbs 24:16 (NLT)
There is a new sport called Parkour, which involves hopping over and through obstacles in the most direct and efficient way possible. It was developed as a military training discipline, but has evolved into an urban sport where people leap, jump, run and tumble through concrete landscapes in whatever way gets them from point A to point B the fastest. If you check online for videos, you will see kids (who are the only ones whose bodies twist this way) leap in elegant and crazy ways over walls that were never meant to be scaled at heights that would make your hair curl. It’s beautiful and breathtaking all at once, and it makes me appreciate the fearlessness of the human spirit.
But, when you search the internet for Parkour videos, along with the beautiful triumphs, you will also find tons of clips labeled
Parkour Fails. These videos document the ‘not so successful’ leaps, jumps, runs and tumbles of the Parkour enthusiasts, where they slam into walls, fall on their faces, skin shins and break bones, all to the accompaniment of some of the most colorful language ever recorded. Parkour is beautiful when it succeeds, but painful in the extreme when it fails. And I think it’s fair to assume that, for every perfect move, there are ten or twenty not so perfect failed attempts.
I think life is a lot like Parkour.
You are about to make that perfectly timed jump, then out of nowhere—wham! Job loss. Or you are sailing through the air about to make a safe landing, when—crash! Cancer. Pow! Divorce. Slam! Crunch! Zing! Your exquisitely executed move ends up as a painful mess. And just to add insult to injury, someone has filmed it and put the video onto the internet…
The Parkour Fails are hard to watch, but they are also inspiring Why? Because the very fact that we have beautiful Parkour videos means that these certifiably insane youths got up after their Fails and tried again. And kept trying. And kept trying. Until, finally, they succeeded.
King Solomon may not have known about Parkour, but he certainly knew about how important it is to keep trying. In proverbs, he talks about a godly man tripping but getting up each time, while the wicked are decked by a single punch.
Solomon doesn’t say that the godly won’t face troubles, and he doesn’t say that they won’t be painful. He only promises that, when we stumble in life, God will be there to help us to get up again. And again. And again. Until we finally succeed.