We were discussing how counter-intuitive (my word) God’s ways often are. Least is great. Down is up. “Just like Schweitzer and Who” said a friend, and then in answer to my stunned expression continued “You know, a pair o’ docs (paradox).”
One striking paradox I have been considering lately is the concept of moving forward by falling down. This has been a horrible season of falls for people we love and serve. We have seen several folks who had been clean and sober for months have ‘a slip’. It is painful to witness the havoc these falls bring with them. Lives seem so damaged and relationships become strained and we cry and we cry out. But even as we weep and as we complain to God we can do so with a hope that is not dependent on circumstances.
Many will know that a few years ago I had a horrendous fall. I literally fell and shattered my jaw and did great damage to my teeth and face. At one point I was near death. This fall was for me though a fall forward. I mark the time of my physical brokenness to a time of great healing and spiritual progress. I was a long time recovering from that fall and I have permanent physical reminders but I look back with gratitude at what God has done in me through this fall. I went through months of dental surgery and experience hearing loss and feeling on one side of my chin and lip and I am eternally grateful to the God of paradox, the God in whom I can fall forward!
Would the Psalmist have been able to pen his words of inspiration had he not known the depths of the forgiveness of God following his fall?
Would Paul be able to pen the words “nothing can separate us from the love of God” had he not fallen on that Damascus Road?
There is real hope in God. There is hope that we can fall forward. There is hope that my friends who have made some bad choices can fall forward. That the community which now suffers can be mended and even strengthened through this ordeal.
Linda and I have been reading Joshua lately. He famously says to the people “Choose for yourselves, if you will, a god from this present world, but as for me and mine we will chose the LORD.”
We are choosing to hang on to God in the midst of this season of falls. We do so because in Him we can most certainly ‘fall forward’.