Flap! That was the sound that was made as I was walking early one morning underneath some trees and an unsuspecting squirrel fell out of the tree and hit the road right in front of me. I’m talking like two feet in front of me. When he hit the ground — flap! — I looked down and thought maybe he had been killed. What I assumed is that this squirrel was running around up in the tree and either reached out to grab a limb and missed it or grabbed one that was broken or one that was too small to hold his weight. Whatever it was, the result was flap. There he was on the ground right before me.

I backed away just to see what might happen. The squirrel did move and after a few seconds began to get his bearings and shook his head and pulled himself together and got up and ran off into some bushes nearby. As I watched him for what amounted to about a minute, I thought how easy it is for us to have an event in our lives that is one of those flap kind of moments when all of a sudden everything changes. From a wonderful, spiritual standpoint, I thought about the times in my own life when I had one of those fall-out-of-the-tree, hit-the-ground, flap moments that stunned me, just like that poor old squirrel.  In fact, as you think about it, moments like that happened to some of the great saints in the Bible.

I guess you could say it was a flap moment when Simon Peter stood by the fire and, when questioned, denied Jesus. Not just once, not even twice, but thrice he denied Him. Do you think that morning when he got up and started his journey to see what was going to happen to Jesus he would have ever imagined or ever agreed with you and me that today, big guy, you will deny Jesus three times? You could see him in the circumstances there as Jesus is being tried and being carried from one place to another and there he is standing with the crowd that wants to see Jesus crucified and he is asked, “Aren’t you one of His disciples?”  “No, no,” and it is as though the flap moment comes.

I have often wondered how many times he thought about that. I wonder how many times he wished that he had not denied Jesus. I wonder how many times someone else brought it up to him: “Hey, you remember that night when you…” “Yes, I remember.” It was a flap moment for him. He was stunned just like you and me when we don’t live up to our full potential, when in fact, we fail to do the minimal potential of our lives.

It wasn’t just Simon Peter who had one of those moments but also the great introducer of Jesus, John the Baptist. He had his own experience with being stunned by his own decision-making and his own actions. He was in prison and so discouraged. He called some of his followers nearby and said, “I want you to go and ask Jesus, ‘Are you the One that is supposed to come or look we for another?’” Isn’t that interesting? This is the man who introduced Jesus as the Messiah from heaven to all the world. It is this John who said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). It was this John who said he saw the affirmation upon His life as the spirit of God came upon Him like a dove when He was baptized, but now John the Baptist is questioning Jesus: “Are you the one?” Maybe things have happened in your life. Discouragement has come. Difficulties, circumstances beyond your control that reshaped the feelings and the faith that you can control. There you are, stunned. After flap, you hit the ground, and it happened to John the Baptist.

I think you could even describe whatever it was that happened with the young missionary, John Mark, as a flap. He was with the Apostle Paul on his first missionary journey. Somewhere along the way, something caused him to drop out and to go back home. We actually do not understand. We don’t know, but the fact is that he left and Paul was not happy with him. I suppose that you could say he had a flap moment when whatever it was that called him away, whatever it was that caused him to stop serving and to change directions, whatever it was that caused Paul to be so unhappy with him, stuck with Paul for years to come. For John Mark, maybe it was a flap kind of moment.

All that is to say that whether you’re a squirrel or saint, sometimes you don’t grab ahold like you ought. You miss doing what you should have done and you bite the pavement and folks nearby hear the flap in your spiritual life. However, be of good cheer for though you may have been stunned, you can be revived. That little ole squirrel finally got up and scurried off and returned to being a squirrel, doing what squirrels do. I didn’t see him climb up a big tree real quick, but I’m sure he did. He was made to climb trees. He was made to jump from limb to limb. He was made to do great things as a squirrel but you and I are so blessed that in our service to God we have an incredible Savior who loves us even when we hit the ground, who reaches out to lift us up and restore us even though half the community may have heard us go flap.

Jesus goes to Simon Peter and restores the love, and to John the Baptist He reaffirms who He is and what He came here to do, and John Mark comes back to serve alongside Paul in the greatest needs of Paul’s life at a special time. God wants to do that with you, for you, through you. Maybe, just maybe someone reading this article is at a point in their life where they need to get up, get back in relationship with the Lord, and scurry off to the task that He has given him/her to do. Put that in motion today. Make that decision now, and let God take over your life in new and wonderful ways. God bless you.

The author can be contacted at directions@mbcb.org.

Jim Futral

Executive Director-Treasurer