Friday, May 24 2024 - 11:59 AM
man in elevator
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Stairway or Elevator?

Completely tired of treating failure as a tumble down the stairs from God, Heaven, and all that is good, I have a new tool I’ve admitted into my file of helpful spiritual visuals. Enter the Elevator. No matter how many times you trip and fall, if you’re in an elevator, well, you’re going to keep zooming up to the 18th floor because that’s the button you pushed. What a gloriously refreshing thought.

Jack and Jill

In a world where my instincts rise and fall on feelings (yikes) more often than I care to admit, the elevator visual comes with sweet relief. Usually when I have a spiritual or relational tumble and find myself flat on the only face I have, the feelings that wash over me are those of Jack and Jill who ran up the hill. I’ve fallen, and now I am farther behind than when I got up this morning—or at least back where I did wake up. I’ve zeroed myself out.

Thinking of yours truly as the pilgrim who makes progress when good living lines up and loses progress (simple subtraction works) when I fall, the spiritual life becomes a long walk up a long hill—and a lot of work. It’s like there really is this stairway to Heaven, and I may climb close, but then if I trip, well, I’ll fly down past a few flights of hard-climbed stairs in a few seconds, and then there I am, farther from God and closer to giving up.

The Good News

Well, the good news is that there is no stairway. Jesus taught grace. He promoted us being together. Jesus taught resting easy and walking under a lighter load. Sure we’ll get bruised if we insist on tumbling up in our poor choices, but my relationship with God is not linear and we can still hug and I’m still His daughter, even if my arm is broken.

The bitter pill of thinking I’m on the road to God’s house and gaining and losing ground every day is probably the worst a Christian can swallow. It’s not rational in the least bit. Can you imagine me marrying my sweet husband and then measuring our behaviors and sentiments daily to decide when and where we’ll earn the togetherness we crave?  Nothing in the relationship guidance of the Bible calls for such a mindset. No, we are to enter in and then work through our stumbling issues while staying close.

Bringing Us Close

God is a person, after all. A Father, Brother, and Spirit who have turned Heaven on its head to save us and bring us close. They don’t want us cleaned up. They want us close. They’re not intimidated by our sins and shortcomings at all. They have no fears about healing and overcoming as we do. They’ve been there and done that. They’ll get us all cleaned out and thoroughly dismantled and then realigned with no worry or striving. They know how things work. They’ve never been victims of our confusion or given it any power. They can handle us…if only we’ll come close.

And how evil then, the lie that would put the cleaning before the getting close, and even measure that process out in steps and turn it vertical. What could be more confounding to the mere mortal?

The Elevator

Yes, and so I keep a mental picture of an elevator with me. This is so that no matter what happens or how I spill over, I know I’m still moving in the direction I have asked God to take me. And most of all, we’re still together, and I’m with Jesus, going for a ride.

It’s enough to make me smile just thinking about it.

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If you liked this, you might also like Falling and Failing | How to Recover When You Stumble in Your Christian Walk 

Claire Worley writes from the Pacific Northwest.

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About Claire Worley

Claire Worley

writes from the Pacific Northwest.

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