Saturday, December 17, 2016


Monday morning I went out to shovel the snow. It is Saturday evening and I am still a mess. All it took was one short push of a broom across the hood of my truck, attempting to clear the snow off my vehicle before I shovelled, when that electric shock zapped me mid-back. It had happened before so I started for the front door. I managed to get in the house and to the living room floor. Flattened. In pain. Broken. Sometimes I feel so capable and happy to be able-bodied and of generally sound mind. Then a day like Monday shows up and I remember all over again how weak I am.

The next few days were on the floor, to the doctor, stronger muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories, a 45 minute attempt at work in the office and back to the floor. In fact, I had to hit the floor once I got to the office.

I don’t like not working. I don’t like having to get other people to put my socks on my feet. I don’t like standing at the window and watching my wife, children and mother(!) shovel my driveway as more and more snow hits. I don’t like not being able to do what I want, when I want to. But there has not been much choice. 

If I stand, my legs go numb. If I sit, my back seizes up. So I go back to the floor. It is definitely improving, but I am still feeble and walking around with that sense of “one bad move and you’re done.” In other words, I am weak. And I do not like it. I first noticed my repulsion to this weakness when I found more comfort in Netflix than my Bible. It took my mind off the pain and distracted me from my condition. I am just watching a movie…

But the more I considered this, the more I realized how deep was my resolve to care for myself. More than that, to find my own happiness. Paul wrote, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” But I could only say, “When I am weak, I dig down even harder to survive without His grace. My power is sufficient for me.” 

I was startled by the revelation, for I have felt a particular closeness in my fellowship with God this fall and winter. I have found my heart wanting more and more of Him. But when this trial appeared, all it did was show me how tight a grip my (supposed) self-sufficiency had on my most secret heart. Thankfully, in His grace, He stretched out the pain and floor time almost an entire week and kept whispering, “You’re not strong enough.”

I wonder why we are so afraid of weakness? In my best moments I glory in His power in the middle of my powerlessness, but perhaps that is only in those areas of my life that I am willing to admit I need Him. I don’t want to need help to get up, to get dressed, nor to move from one part of the house to the other. I want help with big projects or seemingly impossible situations in other peoples lives. I just don’t want help with brushing my teeth. 

All of this made me think of some of my disabled friends, some of whom would be thrilled to move as much as I am moving today. So many of them seem to have reached a calm acceptance of their lot. They are not humiliated by their humble situation. Acceptance. Contentment. That seems to be at the heart of it, doesn’t it? 

But 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. (2 Corinthians 13:4a)

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.
’Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.

- John Newton

So in the end I thank Him. He loves me so faithfully that He is willing to keep digging down deep to pry my fingers off my idol of self-sufficiency and, in the process, show me all the more how much I need Him.

Come, Lord Jesus.

(And yes, this post was written from the floor.)