I find it intriquing that most humans seem to find humor in the cartoons and drawings of people slipping on a banana peel. Many times they are depicted as the person unaware of the upcoming fruit peel looming ahead on their path just waiting to trip them up. It is now a deadly weapon in Mario Kart and a slapstick comedy staple, but how did the banana peel gets its reputation as such a threatening object? This got me thinking about how it’s popularity came about. Mentalfloss.com explains it:
A DANGER TO SOCIETY
Before the discovery of its comedic potential, the banana skin was considered a real public hazard. In the mid-19th century, a man named Carl B. Frank began importing Panamanian bananas to New York City. The fruit quickly became a popular street food throughout America, but the surge in urban migration and lack of sanitation regulation posed a major problem in cities. People often tossed their garbage into the streets, leading to a general foul stench and public waste buildup. A fresh banana peel might seem non-threatening, but a rotting banana peel was a slime-covered booby trap.
You may be thinking. Great Donna, now I have one more piece of useless trivia in my head. What does this have to do with spirituality or running? Fall is such a beautiful time to run outdoors, yet it can be hazardous as well. My mind went there the last few weeks as I ran because of all of nature’s banana peel like traps just waiting to trip me up. First there are the very slippery, wet leaves that are quickly dropping to the ground, but the worst offenders are the acorns. We seem to have an overabundance of acorns everywhere and when they first drop off the trees, they are the equivalent of running on hundreds of tiny balls. As I was dodging acorns one day I was reflecting on how God is so gracious to us. Just like my ability to see the acorns on my path, He makes visible to us the things that could trip us up!
Psalm 18:36 You enlarged my path under me, So my feet did not slip.
When we are aware of the pitfalls ahead it is usually because we have already encountered them before and ended up face-planted on life’s asphalt. We are responsible to pay attention to the signs that God is giving us about the path in front of our feet. This happened to me about 2 weeks ago in a practical way (there was nothing spiritual about it). I fell while running in the same spot I fell 13 months prior. I didn’t see the raise in the sidewalk then, but this time around I noticed it. You can be sure that place won’t trip me up again. I have now encountered it twice (and failed) but now I see the danger. If I run in that area again, I will be aware of what lies ahead as well as what lies under my feet.
When it comes to the snares that the enemy sets for us, we need to get the download from God and learn from our mistakes and understand how we managed to walk into the trap to begin with. There is nothing more frustrating than making the same mistake over and over again and never learning the lesson or seeing the trap. We must remember that in Jesus we have authority over all things.
Hebrews 2:7-8New Living Translation (NLT) 7 Yet you made them only a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.
8 You gave them authority over all things.”
When we can recognize the enemy and see him coming, he no longer has the power to cause our feet to slip. His authority in our lives dries up. It’s a funny thing about acorns, when they first fall off the trees and into the pathway, they are a little green around the edges, hard like little marbles, and able to send your feet up into the air just like those old banana peel cartoons. When they have been laying in the path for a while and have been exposed to the light, they are dried out and easily crushed right under your feet without fear of stumbling.
What keeps us from stumbling? The Word says it is wisdom:
Proverbs 4:11-13 New King James Version (NKJV) 11 I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths. 12 When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, And when you run, you will not stumble. 13 Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; Keep her, for she is your life.
True wisdom can only be found in the Word. When you find yourself searching elsewhere, be careful…..it may just be a cleverly disguised banana peel.
Proverbs 4:26-27New Living Translation (NLT)
26 Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. 27 Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.