Proverbs 24:16: 16a for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,
I’m sure most athletes, especially runners, have seen the viral video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQ4GjqNT-l4) of Heather Dorniden (now Heather Kampf) who fell in a heat of the 600-meter at the 2008 Big Ten Indoor Track Championships. There is little time to make up lost distance in this race so when she went down with just over 200 meters left, no one could expect her to place to move on to the finals, let alone win the race. Quoted in the Minnesota Alumni Association website, Dorniden said: “I knew team points were so close, so there was never any doubt that I would finish the race…Luckily it was a home meet, so my whole team, my parents, and fans gave me so much energy. I heard the announcer say, ‘Watch out for Heather Dorniden.’ I thought, yeah, watch out for Heather.” http://minnesota.imodules.com/s/resources/templates/login/index.aspx?sid=1118&gid=1&pgid=1228
The Dorniden race video, and many variations, have been posted many times on Youtube (with millions of views) and much has been written about the race. It has become an obvious allegory used to inspire us to rise again, but one comment that was written stood out for me. In the Alumni website article, the author said: “Here’s something middle-distance runner Heather Dorniden has learned about falling: If you decide whether or not to get up, it’s already too late.” There is some serious wisdom in that statement.
I have had the honor of mentoring a number of youth and young adults and one topic that invariably comes up over time is the topic of failing and falling. I have a long list of failures in my life and things I wish I could re-do. There are many times where life has beaten me down to the point where I’d either want to just crawl into bed or rock in a corner. While I certainly see different seasons in my life, some where there is relative quiet, invariably the storms are sure to roll in again. And I am certain to stumble and even fall. However, what I share with those I mentor is that while I fall, I have learned to get up, and to get up quickly. If it is sin that has brought me to the ground, then I repent quickly and I declare the truth that Jesus forgives me of my sins (1 John 1:9), and I stand up. If it is the worries of the world, or circumstances or events that have thrown me to the ground, then I try to quickly cry out to the Lord and ask Him to lift me (Psalm 3:3).
Unlike the 600-meter race, where it is too late if we “decide whether or not to get up”, with Jesus it is never too late to repent or to ask for His arm. However, I have learned that when I choose to stay down opportunities have passed me by. I have found that I am ineffective when curled up in bed and unable to take on the “good works, which God prepared in advance for [me] to do.” (Ephesians 2:10b). I find a Bible full of scripture that says “arise”, “get up”. Satan loves to see you lying on the floor, because in that place you are ineffective. Choose to be one who gets up, and gets up quickly.
The Lord upholds all who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down. Psalm 145:14