“Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!”
Reading those lyrics may have invoked a vivid childhood flashback for you. Perhaps you immediately attached the melody and sang along as you pictured your younger self, spinning in a circle, tightly grasping the hands of your friends. United, you sang, “Ring around the rosy, pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes, we all fall down!”
We all fall down. Sin, death and the Devil bring us down—and not in the playful way we experienced singing this song. No—this fall is far less graceful and far more painful. Envision the worst injury you have witnessed in sports. Picture Lawrence Taylor enveloping Joe Theismann, Kevin Ware crashing to the hardwood floor, or Zach Miller pounding the turf. (For those uneducated in gruesome athletic injuries, just imagine bones placed in unnatural positions and facial expressions that would make you cringe).
These images describe the falls we take with every sin we commit and every temptation we accept. These falls are debilitating, and without assistance, we cannot come to our feet. There is no amount of mental fortitude or physical determination that can make us stand. Only God’s outstretched hand can give us the strength to make a comeback.
And (thankfully), that’s exactly what God does—He gives us His hand and pulls us up. Throughout the Lenten season, we are thrown to the ground as we remember how our thoughts, words, and actions nailed him to the cross. Then Easter comes and the risen Lord lifts us higher than we could ever imagine.
His complete triumph and unwavering hand serve as the hand, reaching out to save us. With this, we are able to be like the children singing “Ring Around the Rosy,” and immediately rise again. We are able to take help and live as redeemed children of God.
Today, as we begin the Lenten season, we come to our Savior in repentance and humbly seek his outstretched hand. We remember the sacrifice that was made and recognize that only He can provide the strength to stand. Unlike the childhood tune, “we all fall down,” is not the end of our story.
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