Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Friday, May 3 - Bouncing Back

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” — 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

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The slalom event in downhill skiing is fascinating to watch. Skiers race down a course — could be narrower or wider, depending on the event — and need to stay within the lines, turning their skis from side to side while being sure not to take out a flag marker along the way or go outside the course and end up disqualifying themselves. This means that the speed and accuracy of the skier are put to the test in every way. One must be precise and relaxed all at the same time. Oh, and don’t forget the clock, because the best time wins. It’s wild!

But a commentator for the sport said some time ago that the key to successfully completing a slalom event isn’t about not making any mistakes (although skiing cleanly certainly helps). “There’s always mistakes,” he said. “But it’s about how quickly you can recover following those mistakes and how much speed you lost when you make them.” Basically, it’s about resilience and how soon you can adjust and bounce back.

Thinking about this made me realize that this is very much the case in our spiritual life. We are fallible human beings with flaws and baggage that hinder our race along the way. To expect ourselves to perfectly execute the God-plan on any given day is to expect the impossible. Mistakes and trip-ups will happen. God knows this and that’s why there’s new morning mercies every single day (Lamentations 3:22-23). The forgiveness of the Lord picks us up and gives us a nudge back in the right direction, allowing us to regroup and get back on track.

Having a resilient mindset within this context is important because it’s so very easy to beat ourselves up for having blown our momentum and getting off course. How you recover and dust yourself off when you’ve made a mistake in life is the key to growing through our mess-ups. If we allow them to become the defining point of our identity, we miss the idea of grace completely. But we can own up to them, learn from them, and then get our speed back up as soon as we can — if we remember that we’re never out of the race, or the Kingdom, just because we stumbled along the way. Our mistakes will simply become helpers and teachers to us in the journey of life.

Have patience with yourself and give yourself grace, just like God gives you, when you mess up. Remember that mistakes will always be there, but how you recover matters more. God cares about how you finish, not how you start or what tumbles you took along the way. He just wants to see you cross the line and welcome you into eternal joy with your Heavenly Father. So don’t be afraid of the trip-ups. God’s got you, and His grace gives you the freedom to keep on moving and to bounce back — even when you blow it.

— Katherine Singer

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