I took quite a fall the other day. But in my weird and wonderful life, sometimes the things that happen aren’t just things that happen. Instead, God often uses my specific circumstances as metaphors to give insight into things happening on a broader scale.
On the morning of January 6, I went to see a friend who was teaching at a local church. The Bible study was in the church’s outdoor amphitheater. There is a roll-up door that separates the platform in the outdoor area from the indoor platform in the main sanctuary. The door was open so when I had to use the restroom after the study, I took the shortcut through the roll-up door.
Before I headed that way, my friend exhorted me to be careful on the stairs. The platform is quite elevated and the sanctuary was dark at the time. She wanted to make sure I was mindful. I assured her I would be.
And that WAS my intention. But I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
I’ve been in that church many times and I “thought” I remembered that the stairs went all the way around the platform—so you could walk up or down at any place from the edge of the stage. But the picture I had in my mind was wrong. Adding to the distortion was the fact that, since I had been outside, I had my sunglasses on and didn’t think to take them off. However, thinking I was being careful, I DID switch on the flash light from my phone. I walked to the edge of the platform at a random spot and pointed my little light downward. I didn’t see a thing. It puzzled me for a split second but apparently not enough to keep me from moving forward. I stepped down, certain the step was right there.
I dropped straight down about four feet into an inglorious heap on the floor. My friend was afraid I might miss the last step, instead I missed the whole staircase.
I was stunned. It took a moment to catch my breath and assess the damage. I was in pain but immediately realized God had protected me because it could have (and probably should have) been so much worse. Somehow, I regrouped and, amazingly, was able to pick myself up and head to my original destination.
When I got back outside to my friends, I told them what happened. They were kind and prayed. But then every person said the very same, exceptionally logical thing: That I needed to prepare for the “fact” that I was likely to be in a whole lot worse shape by the next day. I chose to believe for the best and hobbled home.
I took it easy the rest of the day and ended up falling asleep on the couch that night. When I woke up, my foot was extremely bruised and swollen. When I tried to put weight on it, I couldn’t. I thought of everyone telling me it was going to get so much worse and fear started to set in. Then I remembered again how thankful I was that God had so obviously broken my fall. Since He had already done so much, I knew He would continue to take care of me. I did all the things I was able to do—ice, heat, ibuprofen, etc.—then prayed and went to bed.
I drifted off for a couple of hours before waking up sometime in the middle of the night. When I did, immediately, I had very clear thought:
It’s going to be okay.
And it was. When I woke up in the morning, my foot was no longer hurting severely. Nor was anything else. To be clear, I WAS in pain and it was going to take a while to be fully restored, but the fall didn’t have nearly the long-term impact or consequences it should have had. There was no question God had intervened supernaturally.
Beloved, the Church in America, and America itself, has taken a bad tumble. Although clear words have been spoken from heaven, when filtered through the wrong lenses and preconceived ideas of what things are supposed to look like, it is easy to miss the next step even when we’re sincerely looking for it. But here’s the good news:
It’s going to be okay.
There IS pain. There may be pain for a while. Full recovery will take some time. But don’t give into to pronouncements of long term doom and gloom no matter how accurate they may seem for a moment. He is still with us. He is still for us. In HIS mercy—and not because of our ability to follow precise instructions—He WILL intervene supernaturally. While we continue to do what we can do—worship, pray, stand in faith, respond as best we are able to His word—He will do what we can’t.
We are all in process. God knew the sincerity of my heart and didn’t hold what I didn’t know against me. Although I heard the warning and was genuinely trying to listen and follow as best I knew how—I still missed the step. I’m responsible for that and no one else. Was He obligated to break my fall and supernaturally accelerate my healing? Heavens no. But He is merciful, and He did. He did not just as an encouragement to me …
But to US.
There are many appropriate applications for this little object lesson and I intentionally don’t want to get more specific. The point isn’t to draw conclusions on exactly where and how the Church has “fallen”—many of us likely have differing opinions about that—and that’s okay. That, in itself, is one of the areas where our wrong lenses and preconceived ideas of what things are supposed to look like, trip us up. We ALL see in part.
But He sees in full.
And He sees a pure and glorious Bride rising from the ashes.
I believe the time of our maturity and transformation is closer than we know. In the meantime, I am grateful. I’m grateful that He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve. I’m grateful that He is always there to catch us when we fall. I’m grateful for mercy that triumphs over judgment. I’m grateful He is a Redeemer and a Restorer. I’m grateful that He hears us when we pray. I’m grateful that He keeps His promises. I’m grateful that He works swiftly in its time. I’m grateful that He never changes. I’m grateful that He never fails. And I’m grateful that even when we fall …