Pathetic and Feeble

  • Feb. 4, 2008
  • #6721

Right after her accident, Joni wanted to be seen as independent, but later learned that we are all frail, and in our weakness He is strong.

I can't remember how far back it was, maybe when I was at the University of Maryland in the late 60's, early 70's, but I was really big on being independent back then. In my wheelchair, making my way around on campus... not having to ask for help in class... feeding myself in the cafeteria with my special spoon in my arm splint. It just meant a lot to be independent. In my wheelchair I didn't want to be treated in any special way. Actually, the truth is, I don't think I wanted anyone to see me as weak... as needy. 

And I think that's why one of my least favorite Bible verses back then was I Corinthians 12:23 where it says, "Treat the weaker parts of the body with special honor." I looked at that verse as nothing more than a pity-the-poor-unfortunate perspective on people in wheelchairs like me. And as far as being treated with special honor, I didn't like the fact that I should be treated any differently than the next person. I was strong... I was on my own... I was not weak. Get the picture?

Well, years later I began to get wise. I began to see the real meaning behind I Corinthians 12. Because the fact is, the truth is, we are all weak, we are all needy, whether we like to admit it or not. It's just the weakness of some people (like me) are more evident. People in wheelchairs who have lost the use of their legs... people who have lost their sight, or mothers who have lost their dreams of having a "normal" child... or people who have lost their sanity. These people understand what it means to be weak and to feel weak and needy. They "get it" when the apostle Paul says that he is able to boast in his weakness, because they know that when Christ's power rests on him. 

When I was back on that college campus, I did everything I could not to appear fragile, not to look as though I needed any help, that I needed anyone. But I was only fooling myself back then, because we all are feeble, we are all frail, and we all need help. And I was to discover that not but a few months after my second semester when I had to skip school in order to stay in bed to heal a bunch of pressure sores.

People who do not suffer physically tend to forget how weak we all really are. Many believers forget that they were saved not because they are strong and lived right, but because they were spiritually pathetic. They were losers in God's eyes... they are nothing. But when we acknowledge those weaknesses, when we admit it, we gain far more strength and power than we ever dream possible.    

Today, friend, you might not want words like pathetic or frail or needy or feeble or weak to describe you, but please learn to see your weakness as your greatest asset, as your friend. It may be that very thing that pushes you closer to Jesus where you see that when you are weak, He is strong.

© Joni and Friends

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