Weak. Sickly. Puny. Fragile. Delicate. What comes to mind when you read these words? I can’t help but wonder how many of you thought about yourself and your chronic illness. We’ve probably all heard these words used to describe us and our health at least once; I know I have. Personally, I hate these words. I cringe whenever I hear them. I have been sick for almost eleven years, and I’ve lost count of the number of times these words have been used to describe me. Maybe one of the reasons why I hate these words so much is because of what our culture believes.
We Americans are taught at a young age that our goals in life should be to make money, become a force in which to be reckoned, and become a huge success. Yet living with a chronic illness changes all of that. We’re often too sick to work and make money, let alone become powerful or a huge success. It’s no wonder so many of us struggle with feelings of low self-worth! According to our world’s standards, we have nothing of value to contribute to society. But God doesn’t judge us according to what others say or think. When God looks at us, He doesn’t see sickly, weak people with no value. To Him, we are more than an illness and a broken body. Yet far too often, we forget this truth and judge ourselves in the same way the world does. We allow our diseases to define who we are and forget that a weak body doesn’t mean we have a weak spirit and mind. Yet some of the most brilliant minds in history came in the form of “weak” bodies. Beethoven was deaf and had an intestinal disease. Hellen Keller was blind and deaf. Stephen Hawking, who is considered to be a modern-day Albert Einstein, can’t even speak without the aid of a computer. Yet in spite of every challenge and obstacle these people faced, they chose to persevere and become more than the world said they could be.
It’s no wonder Paul penned those words. He was no stranger to suffering. In fact, he went through more suffering in his life than most of us could ever imagine. Don’t forget, not only was he imprisoned many times, he was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, bitten by a poisonous snake, and most likely had a health problem. So to say “I can withstand all things” is a truly powerful statement. Paul wasn’t just another preacher saying what people needed to hear. He spoke from his personal experience. He knew how hard life can be, but he also knew that God is greater than any problem that can ever come our way. And for those who have a relationship with Christ, they can rise above the trials life throws their way because God will fill them with His strength and power. All they have to do is ask.
Let’s face it – our lives aren’t easy. Truth be told, they’ll probably never get any easier. For many of us, each day that we are able to get out of bed and accomplish something on our “To Do List” happens only because we willed ourselves to do it. Because of this, sometimes we grow tired and weary in our spirits from the daily battle to rise above the pain. But it doesn’t have to be this way. God is strong enough to carry our burdens, and He graciously shares His strength and power with each of us.
Will we still be physically weak? Most likely yes, but the great thing about having a weak body is we know we need to rely on our strong, mighty God. The more we lean on God for strength, the more He can use our lives in a powerful way. I don’t know about you, but I would rather have a weak body and live a powerful life that makes a difference in this world than to have a strong body but live only a mediocre life focused on myself. What about you?
“Look at your situation when you were called, brothers and sisters! By ordinary human standards not many were wise, not many were powerful, not many were from the upper class. But God chose what the world considers foolish to shame the wise. God chose what the world considers weak to shame the strong. And God chose what the world considers low-class and low-life—what is considered to be nothing—to reduce what is considered to be something to nothing. So no human being can brag in God’s presence. It is because of God that you are in Christ Jesus. He became wisdom from God for us. This means that He made us righteous and holy, and He delivered us. This is consistent with what was written: The one who brags should brag in the Lord!” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (CEB)
© January 24, 2013