The Fear of (Not) Falling

Our daughter, Amy, and her family live in Raleigh, NC (about 8 hours away), so when they told us they would be in Birmingham (2 hours away) for a wedding—we were excited about the opportunity to see them.  As it worked out, we were able to spend some time with Amy and her husband, Drew, but spent the entire visit with our grandson, Sam, while his parents went to the wedding. 

They were staying at an Embassy Suites Hotel and their room was on the fifth floor. If you’ve haven’t been inside an Embassy Hotel before, most of them have this huge atrium in the middle with a tropical forest theme complete with bridges, waterfalls, fish, etc. All of the rooms open out to that view and the elevators are glass so that while going up or down you’re looking out over everything.

Sam is seventeen months old and like most boys his age, he likes to be out and about. Janice and I were walking with him on the walkway that goes around the atrium and whenever we would pass the elevators he would point at them and make some kind of sound (because what 17 month old can say, “Elevator?”)  Anyway, he likes riding in them. I lost track of how many times we went up and down, but it was a few. On one occasion, we got on at the fifth floor with a young man who was delivering pizza. As the elevator started its descent, it suddenly dropped a little and Sam threw his hands out and made some anxious sounds. As Janice calmed him I looked over at the pizza delivery guy who said, “Whoa, head rush.” I’m not sure how clinical his terminology was, but I think he got it right.

When Christ was contemplating His own death, He spoke this proverb, “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:24). I’ve heard it said that the fear of falling is instinctual—something we’re born with as opposed to something we learn. Even though babies can’t see very well, they can experience the sensation of falling (what Sam momentarily experienced in the elevator), and it’s discomforting. It’s the same feeling I experience when we are flying and hit some turbulence and the plane drops “a little bit.”  There’s just something about the way we’re wired that makes us like having our feet on the ground or having something to hold on to. Maybe that’s why Jesus spoke of falling to the ground. To do that, you have to let go of everything (including your fear). This kind of falling is an act of faith—you’re letting go and letting God.  But just as the seed falling to the earth brings life and fruitfulness, so it does for us as well.  

Won’t it be great when we reach the point in our faith where our fear is about not falling?

Personally Speaking


Published by A Taste of Grace with Bruce Green

I grew up the among the cotton fields, red clay and aerospace industry of north Alabama. My wife and I are blessed with three adult children and five grandchildren.

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