We hate weakness. Think about it. We take pain meds for a headache, work out to be strong, eat healthy so our bodies will run well, and do everything in our power to stay well all year long. None of us like to be weak, ill, in pain, or run down. I don't know of any nation that does not want to be strong and powerful. It's a built-in part of our psyche. We all want to be strong, self-sufficient people who can, in America at least, "pull ourselves up by our bootstraps." But here is the kicker - only when we are weak can the Lord be strong on our behalf.
None of us, when given the choice, would rather trade weakness for strength, illness for health, or insecurity for stability. But it is in our weakness that we not only discover, but are witness to, the Lord's strength and work on our behalf. When we stumble and fall, grace abounds and He picks us back up and helps us keep walking on. When we should receive harsh reprimand and holy judgment, His mercy abounds and His grace is poured out. When we walk through wretched turmoil, we are given peace that surpasses all understanding. The Christian life is one that is full of paradoxes. When we seek answers, we are told to be still. When we die to ourselves we are given life. When we lose our life we gain it. When we are weak, we are made strong through Christ.
Only in our weakness are we made strong. Only in realizing how weak we are, do we come to terms with how very strong He is! So instead of kicking and fighting to overcome our weakness, let us rest in Him so that through our weakness His grace may abound, His mercy may abound, His love may abound, and His strength may abound on our behalf.
I was reading the Bible the other day when a text message came through on my phone. Almost automatically, I reached for my phone. My hand hovered in the space between my Bible and my phone. What was I doing? Why was I so apt to grab my phone and so quick to pause my reading of the Word? How had I become that programmed, ready to drop my reading for a text but not ready to drop a text for my reading?
This got me to thinking. How many text messages and emails and Facebook messages do we read on a daily basis? How much time is wasted when doing absolutely nothing while Bible reading languishes because we "don't have time?" It is my constant goal to spend daily time in the Word. That is a non-negotiable in my mind. But life can still get busy and threaten to crowd out that precious and sacred time spend with the Lord. Even if it is first thing in the morning and I read before anything else begins, I will inevitably open up my Bible and my phone will ding. But what if the Bible came through to us as a text message? Would we neglect to read it then? Would we still feel the pressing in of life and busyness and many things to do? Or would we pause and take the time to read, soak it up, respond, and dwell on the message?
The more we become programmed to respond to this faced-paced electronic world, the less we become attuned to being still and knowing He is God. The fewer books we open, the less we focus on opening up the one Book we need to read most. The more we adapt to the instantaneous nature of the world in which we live, the more we give up detrimentally needed time spent basking in the beauty, wisdom, insight, love, and truth that comes through reading the Word of God. But really, we have no excuse. Because if we would read it if it were a text message, then there is no reason to abandon it simply because it is a book.
I love Spring! Up until this year I would have said my favorite season is Fall, but Spring has come all of a sudden this year and I find myself exulting in flowers and fruit trees and the earth come to life. The sky is bluer, the earth fresher, the breeze cleaner. The whole world seems to be blooming and blossoming and can bring a smile to my face. This aspect of growth and new life is often compared to the Christian life. In the beauty of new life during Spring we can see the beauty of the new lives we have been given through the death of Christ on the cross. In the fresh sense of hope Spring seems to sing about, we can see the hope we are given in Christ.
I think this is perhaps why I love this year's Spring like no other. I am reminded of the ever and eternal flame of hope which constantly burns bright inside my heart. As a Christian, I am given hope and that eternal! Regardless how dim and bleak things may appear here (and boy can they!), I know "Spring" is coming! Eternity with Christ is coming! Living perfect and whole and sinless is coming! What a "Spring" to look forward to!
Only in Christ is this kind of hope possible. In this life hope only lasts so long. Hope placed in events or things or people will eventually dry up. But in Christ! In Christ hope quite literally springs eternal. In Christ we are given a hope that goes beyond illness, beyond death, beyond destroyed lives and tattered finances. In Christ we are given hope that stays with us through our darkest days and most trying circumstances. In Christ we can see past our pain and know that our pain will not always exist. For in Christ, "Spring" is coming!