When Giants Fall
My husband suggested the title in jest, but I didn't think it a bad idea. Let me explain...
Just moments before I launched this very website, I received a phone call informing me that...well...our busy, project-driven summer had just come to an end with a thud. That's not exactly what my 13-year-old son said on the other end of the line, but that's what it ended up meaning.
"Mom, dad just fell from an 8-foot ladder, and an ambulance is on the way." I paused.
"What really happened?"
"Daddy fell off an 8-foot ladder, and an ambulance is on the way." I doubted the seriousness of his claim, but we're the kind of family that jokes. A lot. After a bit of back and forth, I said, "If Daddy really fell off the ladder, and the ambulance really is coming, I'll come to where you are." "Good," he said, "because he really did, and they really are."
I got off the phone, closed my laptop, and ambled upstairs to get ready to go when I heard the sirens in the distance.
Oops! [Insert face palm.] He really was serious!
When I arrived to the scene, I found my boys putting away the last of their tools (they had all been working on a little job), and there was my husband lying still, calm, and quietly in the weeds. "What happened?? Are you okay?? How are you feeling???" I demanded to know. "I'm okay, but I fell off the ladder hard, and I know this could be serious. I'm not moving until they take me out of here on a board," he explained.
Well, they did. As it turns out, he broke his back, and it was actually pretty serious...
SO, WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A GIANT FALLS?
That's essentially the question we faced that day.
He fell, that much was known. And he fell in such as way as to break. The X-rays were obvious. But the question anyone faces when they fall is, "How am I going to handle this?"
He had options. As a couple who has served in church ministry our entire adult lives, we've seen people answer this question in many ways (often not so admirably), but how would a giant do it?
2 Corinthians 4 holds the key.
2 Corinthians 4 opens by referring to the end the previous chapter which says,
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (2 Cor. 3:17-18)
God's goal is His glory and the good of our souls, otherwise known as our "transformation into his image." This is the aim -- not our comfort, prosperity, or personal ambition. This is, as 2 Corinthians 4:1 calls it, our ministry.
"Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart."
(2 Corinthians 4:1)
So how does a giant fall?
FIRST, GIANTS DON'T LOSE HEART. Why? Because of what we have! The Spirit of the Lord, freedom, the ability to contemplate the Lord's glory, and transformation into his image are all the possession of the believer! What does a giant of the faith lack? Nothing! This is why Paul could go on to write in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9,
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."
A giant may be struck down, but he (or she) is not destroyed. As I once wrote in a Facebook post, perhaps there is no greater testimony for the believer besides salvation itself than the fact that we, as believers, can claim this truth as our own.
GIANTS RISE AGAIN.
The enemy would love to use any circumstance to discourage us and caused us to think we are disabled and defeated, unable to see the purposes of God fulfilled in our lives. But we have a God who causes us to rise again!
Of course we do! Because that's exactly what He did, isn't it? Jesus was killed, yet rose again.
Paul continues in verse 10...
"We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself." (2 Corinthians 4:10-14)
Giants always have hope. Life is at work within us! We have resurrection power! We have great reason for hope! The enemy cannot and will not hold us down forever.
GIANTS KNOW THESE THINGS ARE FOR OUR GOOD
Paul is clear on this point. There is a purpose in our troubles.
"All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." (2 Corinthians 4:15-17)
Truly, as we sat in the E.R. and realized the next few months (or maybe a little longer) would look different than planned, our hearts overflowed with gratitude. It could have been so much worse. In fact, we've been through worse in other ways. And God has proven himself faithful time and time and time again. He is so good. This fall is merely a "light and momentary trouble," but let us not waste the opportunity to give thanks! Because...
Giants know that while our outward bodies deal with the very real consequences of the Fall (Genesis 3), resurrection power works within each and every day achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs anything that might come our way here on earth. Giants know God is bigger, His plans are better, and it's all going to be wonderful in the end!
Job was a giant of the faith who faced far more than any of us -- talk about being hard pressed on every side! -- yet he praised. "Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised." (Job 1:21) Giants know that praise never depends on circumstances, but on the fact that God is always God. God is always worthy of our praise! FINALLY, GIANTS KEEP ETERNITY IN VIEW
"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:18)
This fall is not the end. In fact, it's just a blip in eternity, so we keep looking onward and upward to our Lord and His promises which are true.
That day in the hospital, we made some decisions. We would not lose heart, we would rise again, we would trust that God would use this for His glory and our good, we would praise, and we would keep the big picture always before us.
I know well that some falls feel much bigger than others -- much bigger than this spill my husband took a few weeks ago. Some falls come about because of split second decisions, while some are a long time coming. Some are purely accidental, and some are well deserved. Some cause more harm than others. Some can be predicted, and some simply cannot.
But after all falls, the choice remains: "How am I going to handle this?"
Perhaps you're reading this today thinking, "I'm doing just fine. I haven't fallen." Perhaps, figuratively speaking, you're laying flat on your back trying to determine your next move (or whether to risk moving at all), or perhaps you've been moved onto a bed in the E.R. and the doctor has just walked in like he did for us with the diagnosis, "I have bad news."
Regardless of your position today, decide now that when you fall, you'll handle it like a giant.
To God be the glory!