Editor’s note: NSLP alum Sarah Sokora reflects on how the stumbles in our life can become the stepping stones to greater perseverance, trust in God, and holiness.

On the long road to Calvary, Christ fell three times and rose three times. With each fall, He rose dirtier, more scratched, and with the Cross repositioned on His aching shoulder. Christ and our own experiences show us plainly that when we fall and rise, we are not precisely the same as before. We gain something in rising, for we make plain that there is something worth rising for.

I have learned much from my own falling and rising, but I have learned much more from witnessing the fall and rise of others, mostly because I witnessed others rise from falls so great and so high that I doubt that I would have gotten up again had I been in their place.

One of the single greatest witnesses to faith in God that I have ever seen was watching my youth minister’s wife bury her husband after he had suffered through several years of terminal brain cancer. He was diagnosed before they married, and they went on to live and love and laugh and have three little boys before he passed away in his mid-20’s. His wife was incredible at the funeral. She was not just holding it together; she was comforting other people! She was a source of hope for the rest of us, because she was certain that her husband was suffering no longer.

This woman took something terrible and rebounded higher than I could have imagined. I like to think of this falling and rising like throwing a bouncy ball against the ground: it is because the ball is thrown down that it is capable of rebounding to new heights! This is why we love underdogs and why St. Augustine is a beacon of hope for so many: we can rise higher than ever in spite of—or maybe even because of—a fall, and that is incredible!

It is because Christ fell and rose on the road to Calvary, because He suffered, died, was buried, and ROSE that we can we can hope to rise in Him: in the little moments throughout the day, in the great challenges that rise up to meet us, and in the end, on the last day.

O happy fault that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!” -from the Exsultet, sung at Easter Vigil

Reflection question: How can you approach your daily crosses and suffering as a means to grow closer to God and rise in perseverance with his help?