– Duane Chapman
Ashes to Achievement
Solomon once wrote, “For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity” (Prov. 24:16). The number seven in the Bible is the number of perfection or completion; therefore, the image is when a righteous man or woman falls, even the number of times they fall is used to perfection because they rise again. Even the sun sets only to rise again to shine brightly the next day. Let us be like the sun, which rises after the dark time after time.
Down but not Out
Few people knew more about suffering than Paul. Jesus Christ was the only exception to this. Paul didn’t necessarily fall but was struck down by His persecutors, yet he still wrote, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies” (2 Cor. 4:8-10). You couldn’t keep Paul down, at least for long, and certainly not out for the count.
The psalmist wrote, “The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand” (Psalm 37:24). Every one of us will fall; it is what we do after the fall that counts. The LORD will uphold us by His mighty hand, and regardless of the fall, He is there to pick us up again, as believers “are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm” (Psalm 20:8). I think if we’re brought to our knees, we might as well pray while we’re there!
Falls Are not Final
We all fall from time to time, even into sin, but God never gives up on us, never forsaking us or leaving us (Heb. 13:5b). So we can say, “May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts” (Psalm 119:173), for “the Lord sustains the humble” (Psalm 147:6a). Even “from six calamities he will rescue you; in seven no harm will touch you” (Job 5:19).
Truly, just because we fall one time doesn’t mean we can’t get up and let our light shine. We might fall seven times, but seven times we shall rise, like the sun, and shine into the darkness of the dawn, bringing light to a world that is sorely in need of it.