In my mind, I can still recall that exact moment of shock when the reality of gravity became clear.
The green of the water tower in front of me…
The rope in my hands…
The flash of the side of the tower as I fell…
The feeling of striking the ground…
The snapping sound…
The pain as I lay on the ground…
One year ago yesterday, I was brought out of the operating room. I had a five inch scar on the back of my leg and a three inch scar on the inside by my ankle. Inside my leg were also three plates and a large quantity of pins to keep the broken tibia, fibula, etc. in place.
There was never a moment of “why me” over those weeks and months. Even as a few set-backs came, I knew that God always has a plan and a purpose.
Where does confidence come from? From where do I – and where do we – receive the ability to press forward? After injury, after accident, after failure, after problem upon problem upon problem, how do we really get the strength to get up and go?
The “easy” answer is faith. But what is faith? We could define faith by calling it trust. Some people put their trust in the government to find a solution to life’s demands. Someone else might call it loyalty or fidelity to someone or something. We might put our loyalty in a team or a particular player.
Personally, while those might be valid definitions in some respects, I prefer a different one. Faith is the belief in things that are unseen. Faith is an assurance of things that are hoped for but beyond our immediate vision. Not only is that definition found in God’s Word (Hebrews 11:1), it’s proven to be an ultimate Rock for me in my life. No matter what might be happening, I trust that God is always there, working and moving in ways unseen.
How do we obtain more of this “faith” in our lives? How do we develop an ever-increasing belief as well as the ability to walk in it – no matter how challenging the particular circumstances might be? The source, the well, the deeper place from which we can draw hope and trust, is, as you might expect me to say, in Christ.
How did you react to what I just wrote?
I ask you to reflect on that question for just a moment. Take a moment to read backwards. Reflect on your own belief, your hope, your trust, your faith.
How strong is it?
I’ll be honest. When I feel that it is strong, then I doubt. Then I struggle. Then I wonder.
And then, when I feel weak, I feel the strength of CHRIST filling me.
There is a big difference between the moments of strength and weakness in our lives. I am convinced that it is in those moments of our greatest strength that we might as well give up. Why? Because our strength is ultimately going to fail. But, it is in the moment when we realize that we are weak, when we are helpless, when we are floundering and failing, it is that exact moment when we have our greatest opportunity for achievement.
Because it is no longer “us”… It isn’t about what I / we can do. We MUST turn to One who is greater, stronger, and more powerful.
And that’s why faith in Christ is so important. The Apostle Paul realized this essential fact for his own life. As he wrote to the church in Corinth (2nd Corinthians 12:7-10), he had struggled, wrestled and called out for healing. Jesus said “no”.
Not maybe. Not wait a little. Clearly, simply and directly, Jesus said no.
If that doesn’t seem like such a big deal, remember who Paul was. He’d been racing to imprison or kill Christians. He’d been struck blind and called by Jesus to be an Apostle. He’d been persecuted, shipwrecked, beaten, stoned, imprisoned, and much more for his faith. If there was anyone who “deserved” to be healed, wouldn’t you think that it would have been him?
And yet, Jesus said no.
In that point of weakness, the Apostle spoke a clear Truth: “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.”
Please understand. Even as I prepare myself to write what I am about to write, I feel silly. I don’t want you to think that I’m claiming to have anything even remotely close to his faith. Again, those moments when I put myself up, I get knocked down. However, when I realize my weakness, when I trust in Christ, when I choose to run with Him rather than on my own, I see Strength. Not mine. His.
And so, as I draw what was supposed to be a quick thought to a lengthy end, that is where I would like to point you – to Christ. To His Presence. To His Strength.
If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ve seen my quotes recently from a man named Chad Robichaux. After serving as a Force Recon Marine, Police Officer, DOD Contractor in the Middle East, and a ranked MMA fighter, he was at his end. His marriage was almost over and he was contemplating suicide. However, his wife asked him a simple question: Since he’d never given up on anything in his life, why was he now willing to give up on their marriage. That question so impacted Chad that he began meeting with a pastor from her church. And then, he began to not only say that Jesus was his Savior, he began to live with Jesus as his Lord. (Read his full story in An Unfair Advantage.) He now strives to help other veterans through a process of finding hope and healing.
In his book, he states something I found rather challenging. Chad shares: (with one minor tweak by me):
As life goes by, it becomes increasingly difficult to know what a good person is – yet it becomes increasingly more important to be that person.
Let me encourage you to take up that challenge. Strive to BE the person God is calling you to be. Be a person of faith. Be a person of integrity. And, perhaps the most challenging, be a person of weakness – as you find STRENGTH in Christ.
Yours in Christ,