Jesus said, "I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them.
"I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?' But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.
"I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you." John 16:1-15
I stumble alot. After my last back surgery, I recovered much of the use of my legs, which I had lost, but my walk and gait are not perfect. When I tire in the least, my right foot dragged slightly and I stumble and trip. I was never terribly coordinated, never much of a dancer, but now, I have to pay attention when I walk, or I need to hang on to someone when the surfaces are uneven. Most of the time, people don't even notice, but I am aware how careful I have to be.
Jesus is talking tenderly with his disciples. He is lovingly preparing them for the time after he is gone, when self-doubt will creep in, and hope might fade away. He assures them that he will be along side of them, someone to hang on to, even when they cannot see him. His presence will not leave them and they will surrounded by the love of the spirit to keep them upright and on the path, no matter how rocky it might become. We also are hearing that we are never abandoned and never left alone. We will also have a guiding hand, a spirit within us to hold us up and keep us from stumbling, even on the hardest roads.
Today I ask God to help me remember the constant presence of the holy spirit. May we not fear stumbling for we are never abandoned or alone. And may we make our way today on the roughest paths ahead knowing we are held close and guided home.