Everybody wants to be strong, right? Everybody wants to think of themselves as capable and able. Everyone wants to feel that they have the answer if there’s a question. Folks want to feel that they have what it takes and that they don’t even need anyone else to make it. I remember when I was in middle school, everyone wore these t-shirts called “No Fear” and every single one was just a celebration of how strong and fearless we all are. The only problem with this line of thinking is that none of us are very strong or fearless or able.
Yesterday I woke up sick. Now, when I say that, I’m not talking about a little sore throat or a runny nose. I mean, I woke up sick. I’m talking stomach virus, sick. I was basically in a state of pure misery for 20 hours: stomach cramping, full-body sweats and not holding anything down. If you haven’t had a stomach virus in a while, it basically feels like your body is staging a coup d’etat. It is literally a race against the clock where this virus is trying to kill you by ejecting all nutrients. Translation: it sucks. Now, when you feel fine and life is running at full-tilt and stresses abound, it can be easy to fantasize about how cool it would be to have a sick day and be able to just do nothing but lie in the bed and watch Top Gear on Netflix all day long; but then, when you actually do get sick, you remember that you’d rather be dead than feel this way. That was me yesterday.
And let me tell you, there’s nothing like a good, hearty case of the pukes to remind you how weak you are. It doesn’t matter how strong I think I am, because one tiny, little, microscopic virus can absolutely take me out! The only really sweet thing about yesterday was the way my wife took care of me all day long. She brought me medicine and the few things I could drink. She cleaned up after me and prayed for me. She never complained, but just served me. I was basically at her mercy and all day long and she did what I couldn’t do and simply loved me. The only thing that would have been really stupid would be if I had tried to be strong and told her I didn’t need her. If I had ignored her mercy and just tried to take care of all my problems myself, I would have been in a complete mess.
Folks, we are not strong. We don’t have what it takes. We are needy and broken down. And guess what: that’s not a bad thing. This is how the Apostle Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 12: “He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” It’s good to be weak. It’s good to acknowledge that you don’t have what it takes and that you need the Lord for every single moment of every day. It’s good to rely on His help and to trust Him to meet your needs. It’s good to need him to clean up your messes and just love you. We are at His mercy, and that’s a very good thing.