Fall and Rise

December 3, 2021

Then Simeon blessed them and told his mother Mary, “Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed— and a sword will pierce your own soul—that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Luke 2:34-35

Written by Diane Woerner from the Station Hill Campus

Autumn and Eternity

More than any other time of year, autumn tugs at my spirit. It doesn’t draw me to sadness, but to thoughts of eternity. I often watch a single leaf make its once-in-a-lifetime journey from its twig to its particular spot on the ground. I witness the rise and fall. It wasn’t that long ago when these leaves were tender babies, newly emerging from a small bud and drawing on the energy stored in the tree’s roots.

But soon enough it would be their turn to provide energy for the next generation. Nature always works on this cycle of life to death, as do civilizations: rise and fall, rise and fall.

A New Pattern to Behold

Over the years, however, I’ve noticed a different pattern in Scripture. It’s the inverted pattern of “fall and rise.” Here’s what God told the prophet in Jeremiah 1:10:See, I have appointed you today over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and demolish, to build and plant.Other similar verses I’ve found are 1 Samuel 2:6-7 and 2 Corinthians 7:3.

But where I noticed it first is in the prophecy of Simeon in Luke 2:34: Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, ‘Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rising of many in Israel.’”

The Prelude in The Pattern

Of course I can’t understand what all this means. But it does bring a fresh settledness to my heart. I realize that, in God’s economy, hardships are less a conclusion and more of a prelude. Of course, even death itself is but the entryway to heaven for those of us who are in Christ.

Yet within the span of our lives, I think the same pattern applies.

In Resurrection Power

I believe we never really discover God’s nature as comforter and restorer apart from a context of suffering and weakness. But beyond that, I think this realization can encourage us significantly. Especially as the circumstances of our lives change and challenges come. It’s ultimately the gospel story.

Death and resurrection—not of a different generation, like the new leaves, but actually of each of us personally. Isn’t our God wonderful?

What Now?

Take the time to seek the people you know who live with joy and confidence in God’s strength and love. Ask them about their stories. Allow them to tell you about how they’ve experienced at least one very real “falling” in their lives that brought them to the “rising” understanding of who they are and who God is.

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