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Fall down or fall back…
but don’t fall away.
Sometimes we do not know what to do. We get to a place where it is difficult to see a way forward, we encounter unexpected difficulty or opposition, or we feel we have failed too greatly to go on. In such times, some of us fall down, some fall back, and some fall away.
Today’s Scripture passage speaks of falling away when trouble comes. As I read it, I wonder if last year was hard on you. Its troubles have many of us contemplating how or what to do going forward. There is no fault in this. In fact, it is wisdom. Allow me to share some insights.
In striving to do what God has called us to do, we sometimes fall down. By this I mean that we fail in something, stall out, get weary, become overwhelmed in our efforts, or simply “miss it” (misunderstand what we are supposed to do).
This is a condition known as ‘normal‘. It has happened to everyone who ever set out to follow God’s path for them. Scripture is replete with the stories of those who fell down–and got back up. Getting back up is what made them great heroes of faith–Moses, David, and Paul to name a few.
Falling down is part of the process of maturing in our relationship with God. It results from being immature (because we are still growing) and, well, just not being perfect.
When (not if) you fall down in your spiritual journey or calling, it is not the catastrophe your emotions may tell you it is. Do what you would do in the natural if you took a fall: Assess your injuries and what you need to do to recover. Then… recover!
This too is wisdom. Do so and you will be able to continue on your journey. You will even be better equipped to continue because of what you learned in the “falling down” process.
The second alternative is to fall back. No fault in this either. What does falling back look like? Think of it in military terms:
When soldiers attempt to take new ground and find the enemy stronger than anticipated, the order is given to fall back–which means to retreat to a stronghold. Falling back is not giving up. It is a strategic move to regroup, reevaluate the situation, and utilize the intel and experience gained to plan another operation.
You may have to fall back spiritually. Perhaps you stepped out into something new too soon, did not discern something, or just missed it. It is all right to fall back to a safe place and assess the situation. This is wisdom as well.
The third option is to fall away. You fell down or fell back, so you are going to… just give up? This is NOT wisdom. There is no such thing as “too late” or too great a failure in God. He will use EVERYTHING to teach us, mature us, and equip us to do what He has called us to do–even our failures and falters.
Therefore, giving up is the one thing God cannot use because the choice of your will stops His power and authority from intervening in your life. Give up, and you are on your own.
Choose to keep going–even if you cannot see the way–and He will marshal all the resources of heaven and earth to propel you to your purpose. He will get you to where you need to be, when you need to be there, to do what you need to be doing. He will do it in spectacular ways you cannot now anticipate.
These insights have been learned through much falling down and falling back. I once came close to giving up–I was teetering on the brink–but God rescued me from that pit. Now, because of that experience, even when I do not know how to go on, I know I do not have to quit. I have decided that I will not–and this gives me strength to go on.
So, fall down or fall back, but DON’T fall away!
But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. (Mat 13:21 NIV)
Prayer: LORD, circumstances, failures, missed opportunities, or misunderstood directions may cause me to fall down or fall back–but do not ever let me fall away from You. Cause me to grow deep roots in You so that when difficult times come, I will survive and thrive in the solid ground of our relationship. Do whatever You need to do in my life to make it so. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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“Today’s Seed” from E-MIN Jan. 12, 2023