My dad went through a brief positive thinking kick in the 70’s. I blame that Robert What’s His Name – Mr. Crystal Cathedral. Anyway, it wasn’t a horrible phase, and I think it gave my dad some good thoughts and energy. The only time it ever really affected me was when I had the mumps.
Nine years old. On the couch. Turning my nose up at my very favorite meal – ham, mashed potatoes, and corn, I was miserable. My father sat down next to me and hugged me. Then he told me that I could feel better if I set my mind to it. I just needed to believe that I wasn’t sick.
“Okay, I’ll try,” I said. And I tried and something did happened. I felt worse. Emotionally. Now, not only was my body sick, but it was my own fault. My mind wasn’t strong enough to make me better. I tried, boy, did I try. But some things, like the mumps, have to run their course.
I have been reminded lately, on several fronts, that God’s kingdom doesn’t work that way. God’s kingdom is not about the strong getting stronger, or us forcing God’s hand by telling him (or the Universe) what we want. I’m pretty sure our strength isn’t that impressive to God. And while my thought-life is real and important, it can’t create worlds. It can only decide to see them.
God is about rescuing the weak. And I am so qualified to be rescued! My mind can’t heal the mumps, and my thoughts can’t create a pain-free world. And sometimes, I’m not even strong enough to ask for help. Yep, I’m qualified.
I’m weak. I accept it. And that feels pretty good. It’s a turning point, actually. A daily turning point.
I wonder if accepting our weakness and God’s strength is like learning to dance? You focus on the steps, the timing. But it is forced and rigid. It’s not until you add the music and surrender to it that you move in beautiful ways. Then calisthenics become dance.
And faith becomes tactile. (Which feels like peace and joy.)
There is a wonderful surrender, a blissful “yes,” in embracing our weakness. There are many “I can’t’s” in this world, I see and feel them every day. But there are none for God.
Accepting our weakness doesn’t limit us, it opens us up beyond ourselves. Joseph said to Pharaoh, “I can’t interpret your dreams, but God can.” I know what little I can accomplish on my own, but God, with his infinite resources and love can accomplish great things in my little life. He already has. And he still does.
God has said much in Scripture about our weakness. He said that his power is made perfect in weakness. And that when we are weak, then we are strong. And that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
So then, with God as our strength, where are our limits? What can defeat us?
Sadness? No, he comforts the brokenhearted. Worry? No, he gives peace to the anxious. Death? Nope, he beat that one, too.
I need only to let my legs go limp under me and be swept up by his strong and loving arms.
Can’t you just hear the music?