Rock climbing is amazing. The pros somehow scale huge rock faces with little more than a half-inch finger hold. The entire process leaves the expert climber one false move from total failure. Most of us would not attempt to scale a rock face without a safety net like an expert would, but we do attempt to scale our lives with a similar margin of error.
Few of us know how frighteningly close we are to that fine line between strength and weakness. I think it's human nature to want to be strong or at least appear strong. Strength is held at a high value in our culture in nearly every arena from physical prowess to emotional stability. Feeling strong makes us walk taller and proceed with confidence. However, there is a subtle deception in our strength. We are not nearly as strong as we think we are.
Last week it was my job to be strong. My son was having a major surgery, and I'm the dad. However, the moment we got word that the surgery was over and he was ok, I broke down. I lost the finger hold of my strength. My wife turned to me and said sarcastically, "Now, you're crying?!" I was standing on that fine line. My strength was not nearly as strong as I thought. I desperately wanted to know everything was ok with my son.
There is something powerful about understanding our weakness. The constant lie of our world is that we have to be strong. Strength is not a bad thing, it's actually a very biblical thing when it comes from a true source of strength. To think that you or I can just muster up strength from deep within our imperfect selves is foolish. The Bible presents a paradoxical reality; true strength comes when we recognize weakness and depend upon God. So, in order to be strong we must - it is essential - identify with our weakness.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul writes, "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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."
We are all one crisis away from something that will send us to our knees and God offers us His strength.
2 Chronicles 16:9 says, "For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him."
God is willing, even eager, to find those who are committed to Him, those willing to express need and dependence...weakness. Even today as I prayed to start the day, I was reminded of how foolish it is to pretend to have strength that I just don't have. I need God's strength. His strength is exactly what I need. This strength is a byproduct of admitting (boasting in) weakness and a heart fully committed to Him. Don't worry, God is looking for people like that. He's ready to give true strength to carry you through.
Just like rock climbers who spend hours upon hours practicing their holds and ascents with the safety of harnesses, we too can practice boasting in our weaknesses and living lives fully committed to God. When the day comes and our strength is gone, we will know the One who gives us true strength to carry us through.