At my age, one of the questions I've learned to expect when I go for my yearly check-up is, "Have you fallen lately?" Previously I have answered, almost smugly, "No, I haven't." That changed this week.
I was returning five of Julie's kids to their home after their piano lessons carrying two pizzas in my hands. Their house has been in the midst of a gigantic remodeling project for more than a year. A mound of rocks culminating in a very steep step is the only way to enter the house through the back door. I was in my usual hurry. As I tried to mount that last step with my arms loaded, I lost my balance and took a hard fall backward onto those rocks. It was jarring, sudden, painful, and embarrassing. Because I landed on that pile of sharp rocks, it was difficult to get enough leverage to pull myself back up. It took Rosie pulling from the front, and Julie pushing from behind to accomplish the feat. I'm telling you, it was NOT a pretty scene. The fall left lingering effects -- soreness, skinned hands and knees, ruined pizza, dirty clothes, and crooked sunglasses. I continued to find new bruises throughout the next few hours.
A person doesn't wake up in the morning and say, "I believe I'll fall today." No, it happens in an instant. The circumstances leading up to a fall may accumulate over time (in this case, the lengthy construction project, my distracted thoughts, less-than-stellar agility that seems to accompany the number of candles on my birthday cake, etc.), but a fall itself happens quickly and without warning.
It could have been SO much worse. I could easily have hit my head or broken a bone. In that way, I was very fortunate. But the whole incident has replayed in a loop and in slow motion in my brain. Why, oh why, didn't I go in the front door where there are much safer, sturdier steps? Why didn't I hand the pizzas to one of the kids before I tried to climb that steep, wobbly step? When did my movements become so ungraceful? Did I traumatize those poor grandkids who witnessed the event? The Bible says, "Pride goeth before a fall." My Momma used to quote it to my siblings and me often -- always in the King James Version. Had I become prideful? Was this a wake-up call to examine my heart?
I found myself wanting to read more about what the Bible says about a fall or falling. Here are some verses that really caught my attention.
Proverbs 24:16 -- "For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again,
But the wicked shall fall by calamity." My goodness, I hope I won't fall 6 more times, but this is a comforting assurance.
Psalm 37: 23-24 -- "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand." More reminders of the Lord's presence and protection.
Psalm 145:14 -- "The Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down."
Psalm 118:13-14 -- "You pushed me violently, that I might fall, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation." I'm sensing that the psalmist knew quite a bit about falling.
Jeremiah 8:4 -- “Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says:
“‘When people fall down, do they not get up? When someone turns away, do they not return?'
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 -- "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up." I am SO GLAD I had Julie and Rosie nearby to help me up when I fell. I would have been in a mess if I'd been by myself.
There are many more passages, but you get the idea. I believe God knows that each of us will fall at some point in our lives -- perhaps it will be a physical fall, but more likely it will be an emotional or spiritual fall. When that happens, He will be right beside us to extend His hand and lift us back up. Hallelujah.