As I write this, the sun is leapfrogging the puffy gray clouds, and the promise of rain is in the air. Some of my coworkers have the heat on, some have their window open. Some are in short sleeve shirts, some have white sweaters that smell of mothballs and cedar. It's a typical fall day.
I'm guessing that autumn is called fall because deciduous trees decide to drop their leaves, mostly on my lawn. Leaves fall, acorns fall, temperatures fall, and gas prices fall. There is a universal law in operation that guarantees that things will fall: it's called gravity.
There is another universal law in the spiritual world that guarantees people will fall: it's called sin. In religious circles, when we think of The Fall, we think of Adam and Eve's disobedience in the Garden of Eden. This was mankind's entry into sin (Romans 5:12). When they fell from a right relationship with God, they infected the entire human race with the desire to disobey God. Instead of dropping the forbidden fruit when tempted, they dropped their glory and died like an oak leaf.
Several years ago, there was a television ad featuring an elderly woman who fell down the stairs and cried, "I've fallen and I can't get up!" That commercial has been satirized and mocked, but the situation is not funny. When one falls alone with no one to help, it's a tragedy.
When Adam and Eve fell and couldn't "get up" by trying to hide their shame with their own hands, God was there to help. He picked them up, forgave their sin, and promised a future return to glory (Genesis 3:15, cf. Romans 5:17). Although, like the autumn leaves, they were to return to dust, unlike those leaves, they and their faithful seed would rise again (Romans 6:5).
Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10, states, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" When it comes to falling into sin, it's good that we have the Lord to pick us up: "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6).
It's tragic to read about a mountain climber, pilot or hiker who meets a terrible fate while travelling alone, especially if he or she could have had a friend along to help or run for help. Swimmers are warned to have a buddy along in case of trouble, and we feel more secure walking through a bad neighborhood with a companion than alone. Life can be a scary place as well, so it's good to have company along the way.
Although the Lord Himself has promised to be with us all the time (Psalm 23), He doesn't intend for us to go through life without human help. The main purpose of the church is to provide a place for people to minister to each other while worshiping God (Hebrews 10:24, 25; I Corinthians 12:7). Both in and out of church, we are to carry one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2). Just like Christ offers to lighten our burdens (Matthew 11:28), we must bear the weight of others' heavy loads, and allow them to bear ours.
The fall into sin affects us all, and Jesus will forgive and restore us if we ask. We should also be available to help those in need, and be willing to confess when we have a burden we need help carrying. After the Fall, the world became a difficult place to navigate. Nevertheless, if we live by faith, our cry of, "I've fallen and I can't get up!" will not fall on deaf ears.