Monday, June 22, 2015

Falling on faith

There are two ways to fall. One is to fall in failure or, two, to fall on faith.
The first type of fall is accidental and, unless done as part of a theater act, unintentional. No one walks hoping to trip, stumble or somehow end up face flat on the ground. Any sane and rational walker hopes to complete the exercise on two feet and without bumps, bruises or scraped knees. On the walk of life we are all hoping for the same accident-free outcome. We want to make it through college without falling behind; to the alter without falling on our wedding dress or, worse, falling out of love with the man at the end of the aisle. We all want to walk through the ups and downs of relationship woes without falling apart. Parents want to raise their children without having them fall off the straight and narrow path. Falls create pain and pain is never to be desired. So we all try our hardest to avoid the fate of the fallen. 
Yet, many - most - of us will at some point (if not many points) fall. Some people will lose their job, others will lose their children. Marriages will end in divorce and friendships will dissolve in hurt feelings. Sickness will strike and death will separate. The falls of life are too numerous to number. Seemingly out of nowhere, a rock of a circumstance is in our path, tripping up our plans and dreams, sending us cascading downward with nothing to break out fall. 
What if I told you that you could avoid this accidental, traumatic type of fall altogether? It seems almost too good to be true, doesn't it? Well, before you get your hopes up let me clarify a few things. Full disclosure: I am not promising that by eliminating the fall in failure your life will be free of the painful situations and unpleasant circumstances. What I am about to propose will not guarantee your happiness. Marriages will not become immune to arguments and divorce. Children will not suddenly become angelic creatures who never talk back and always take out the trash (without being asked). Nor am I guaranteeing that your job will be "fire proof" or your body "illness proof." What I can guarantee is this, what I am going to propose will transform your attitude and heart towards the very act of falling and whatever stimulus or situation that came about and tripped you up. 
To escape the fall in failure you must learn to willingly and purposefully fall on faith. Embracing this kind of fall means getting down low before anything can knock us to that humble position. You and I are meant to fall but not because we've been kicked, pushed or tripped. We are meant to fall willingly as an act of surrender and obedience before the throne of God. 
Paul, a man well acquainted with struggles and suffering, practiced the art of falling on faith. In Ephesians 3:14 he wrote, "for this reason I fall on my knees before the Father." Paul was speaking of purposely falling. Ending up on the ground, on his knees, was Paul's act of obedience. Nothing caught him off guard that sent him to the ground. He chose that position because in that position he was fully relying on faith to be his strength. He was fully dependent on God when he was at his lowest, even his physical lowest. 
When life throws us a curve ball or sticks its foot out and causes us to trip we do have something to hold onto, something to break our fall: our knees. Even while we are mid free-fall we can decide to make that fall on purpose and that fall one that will land on faith. Sometimes the things that knock us down will come so unannounced that we are indeed mid fall before we realize something has hit us. No matter how last minute the decision, we can choose to land in a position of surrender and obedience that is only possible through an unwavering faith in God. 
For those of us who see the fall before we even stumble, choose to go down gracefully and humbly before God. Fall on purpose. It may seem like a weak and cowardly move but falling on faith is none of the above. To fall on faith is to trust wholeheartedly in the strength, omnipotence and will of God. 
Our strength is never found in trying to stay upright when life serves us a blow or throws a rock in our path. Fighting to stand in the face of such an onslaught will only make our fall more painful. But if we choose to take the fall our knees our spirit will be grateful. The impact won't hurt so much. We will still end up on the ground but it will be a restful position, one where we are cradled, not scrapped, left worse for the wear. 
Today we can choose how we will fall. Falling on faith won't make our lives immune to pain and sorrow but it will unite our heart and soul with our Great Comforter who will carry us through our trials. Learn to love the humble position of being on one's knees because it is there you will find that God will shower you with His strength, love and mercy. 

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