October 12, 2021
by Al Weir, MD
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love” (2 Peter 1:5-7, NIV).
I was meeting with a group of young healthcare professionals prior to training them on bone marrow aspirates and biopsies. I am not young and was quite interested in impressing these up-and-coming future leaders in healthcare. My bifocals made me miss a step as I approached them. I fell flat on my face but without injury. I bounced up quickly as they all loudly commiserated my fall. “I’m fine,” I said. “I know how to fall.” “You’ve got to learn to fall well,” I added. “I’m good at it. In fact, the only way you get to be as old as I am is by falling well. If you fall poorly, you never get there.”
Falling well is a great life skill. It is definitely a skill learned with pain, but incredibly valuable.
Even healthcare professionals fall, sometimes often—with a medical mistake or broken marriage or financial loss or sinful act or failing health. Falling comes with life in a broken world; it’s a given. How we land and how we rise from our falls define our character.
Character building is the hard work of the Christian. It takes making mistakes and learning from them. It takes falling and rising. Character does not automatically come fully-formed with the presence of God’s Spirit in our lives. It takes the work of opening up our lives so the Holy Spirit may be manifested. It takes working out our salvation (Philippians 2:12).
Relating to the verses from 1 Peter cited above, Oswald Chambers wrote: “You have inherited the Divine nature, says Peter, now screw your attention down and form habits, give diligence, concentrate. ‘Add’ means all that character means. No man is born either naturally or supernaturally with character; he has to make character.”
As we work with our God, molding our character from our falls, whether from sin in our lives or blows of this world, we need to get over ourselves a bit. We cheapen our lives if we think the most important consequence of our falls is how much we hurt and how we appear to those who watch us. We live for the King; we fight for the King. When we fall, it is our King who is watching; and when we rise, we rise up for the King, by His power and for His kingdom.
Help me to fall well, and let each fall bring You more glory.