How strong do you have to be?

About a week ago, I left early in the morning to meet someone at the hospital who was having surgery that day. As we sat down to talk and pray, she said, “I’m sorry for being such a wimp.” And I thought to myself, “Why do we feel like we must be strong all the time?” When you are about to have surgery and face some of the realities and unknowns of cancer, isn’t it OK to be scared, be weak, and cry? Of all times to feel vulnerable and mortal, this would seem to be one of the most appropriate.

Yet we don’t like to let on that we feel that way. It seems this is especially true of Christians. We’ve convinced ourselves that our faith means we will not be scared, we will not worry, and we will not feel weak. Even if we read numerous Psalms reminding us that God is our refuge and strength, we’d rather dig deep into our own resources rather than have to tap into his. It’s not easy to say that God is your strength and mean it, because it means you are weak, and probably a wimp, too. It’s OK to sing, “I am weak but he is strong” when you’re a kid, but not when you’re grown up.

The apostle Paul figured it out: “When I’m weak, then I’m strong.” Perhaps we need to learn how to be better wimps.

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