An athlete on the ground is rarely in the midst of glory. He or she has either been injured, knocked down, tackled, or somehow overcome. We associate victory and success with standing tall, arms raised in the V for victory. I do not recall seeing a fallen athlete on the cover of a cereal box. That is because people on the ground are not seen as victors or anyone we want to copy. However, is such a view short-sighted? In fact, going a step further, are we missing what being a true follower of Christ is all about if we shy away from or ignore those who fall?
Falling is Inherent in Christianity
Our Lord was all human and all divine. His humanity caused his tortured body to fall under the weight of the cross and his divinity allowed him to rise again despite such terrible circumstances. Christ did not fall spiritually, of course, since he never sinned. However, we read how he fell emotionally praying in the Garden. We also see how he fell physically under the weight of that cross. Jesus fell in those instances because he was human, and all of us fall from time to time.
The early Christians were martyred and went through much suffering in the early days of the Church. Those were certainly falls of a kind. We have seen how Peter denied Christ three times and how the other apostles, other than John, ran for the hills when Christ was arrested. There was no shortage of cowardice on that cold night when Jesus was arrested, nor the following day when he made the ultimate sacrifice for us. Thus, we see that falling is part of being human and certainly part of being a Christian.
Christianity is about Rising From Those Falls
Christians are not made when they fall but, rather, when they rise from those falls. We see how Peter rose to become the first pope and Paul rose from his hatred and persecution of Christians to become arguably one of the most important figures in the history of the Church. We saw how so many saints overcame suffering to become great examples of perseverance and dedication to their faith. The Christian is not introduced in the glory of earthly victory but in the struggles of earthly defeat. It is in the dirt, the dust, and the mud that Christianity shows its true colors.
Christianity is not about the falls but, rather, about the rising from those falls.
Our Falls are Calls
Ultimately, the Christian must see falls as calls to action and challenges to achieve the greatness that God intends for each Christian. We are each given a mission on this earth which we must first discern and then fulfill. There will be challenges in the way and falls in the process, but we must look beyond these mere bumps in the road and keep our eyes, minds, hearts, and souls fixed on the ultimate prize of eternal salvation in the arms of Our Lord.
At the end of the day, when the going gets tough, the Christian shows his or her true colors.
2017 Gabriel Garnica