Things Fall Apart


Things fall apart.

Besides being the title of the epic 1958 novel written by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, this statement is one of those pesky immutable truths about life.

“Fallingapartness” just seems to be a characteristic that is hard-wired into the way things are.

If you’re a thing – even an exquisitely well-designed and well-built thing – you WILL fall apart at some point down the road.

I know this because I have recently had to replace some things of mine that fell apart.

My razor became dull and wouldn’t shave my face properly anymore. It had to go.

A wonderful shirt my wife gave me quite a while ago finally got a little too threadbare and was regrettably relocated to the ragbag.

In my life I have had cars that have fallen apart… furniture… lawn mowers… shoes (see photo above)… baseball gloves… tree houses… pants… tree houses, and front porches that have all unceremoniously bitten the proverbial dust.

I have seen other sad disintegrations in my time. You can’t really call them “things,” but I have also seen relationships, worldviews, theological positions, certainties, reputations, and trusts fall apart as well.

If you have reached a certain age (like me!), you have also become aware that in some very specific and highly annoying ways, parts of YOU have also become prone to a bad case of finiteness.

And I am not just talking about my silky smooth jump shot either.

Sometimes we get the feeling that things are falling apart more easily or at an increased rate of speed than they did previously. We grumble and harrumph and say things like, “Well, back in MY day…” and wax poetically about the Glory Days of High Quality.

(But here’s a little secret I’ll let you in on… It’s not true. The quality of most things is actually better today than it used to be. It is just our mature stage of life that makes us yearn for the things of the past.)

The reality is: the process of falling apart is natural. It is part of life. It is called ENTROPY. And it is inevitable. Job 14:18 reminds us that eventually even, “… the mountain falls and crumbles away, and the rock is removed from its place…” Old things go away and new things come and take their place. That fountain of wisdom, Disney Studios, calls it “The circle of life.”

We rail against the degradation of the world around us for a lot of different reasons; we don’t like it because it is unexpected… it is expensive… it is inconvenient among other things. But most of all I suspect we rebel against entropy because it reminds us of our own mortality. It reminds us that we ourselves will ultimately fall apart.

But take heart, my fellow mortals. All is not lost. Even in the face of the inescapability of our mortality, there is a life ring of hope for us each to cling to. And not surprisingly, it comes to us from our gracious and merciful Creator.

In countless passages of scripture, through the voice of the prophet or an apostle or some other designated messenger, God extends to us the promise of a renewed heart and mind. Isaiah tells the beleaguered Babylonian captives, “…but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31, NRSV).

Paul addresses his wayward flock in Corinth and offers them this comforting reassurance: “So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16, NRSV).

The psalmist sings joyfully of the renewing power of God’s spirit in Psalm 104:30 – “When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground.”

We can – and should! – exercise. We can and should eat right. We can spend a ton of money of face creams and concealers and make up and even Botox. But there is really only one sure way to renew and rejuvenate this finite, failing, falling apart life we have inherited… it is through the daily renewing of our Spirit through faith in the Living God.

And the best part is: it can happen right here and right now! TODAY! Hallelujah!

Abundant blessings to you today.

1 Response to “Things Fall Apart”

  1. September 17, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    “the process of falling apart is natural” – well put Russell.

    Much enjoyed the read. Blessings to you too.

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