Most days I take basic functioning for granted. Running water. Clothes. My job. A cup of coffee. I would guess the average person, if asked, would say they take walking for granted. If I were asked specifically about this, I would say in a high pitch squeal, “I honestly can’t believe I can walk!” Years ago after an hour of sitting and visiting with a friend on the tall chairs in a local coffee shop, I stood up. Or at least I tried to stand up. Instantaneously the muscles in my lower back seized me, and a bolt of torture ran through my body. This was bad news and I knew it. I went from 5’3 to 5’0 and shambled to the Jetta hoping no one would notice my bent-over body. Slowly I slipped into the seat and sat for a moment hoping it would work itself out. By the time I got home I could not even pull the car into the drive way; I coasted to the curb, parked and hobbled into the house. For the next few weeks I lived on all fours like a small cat. Crawling around the house from one room to the next. My roommates made a bed on the floor downstairs, packed a cooler for me each day since I could not even stand up to make lunch, and they graciously lifted me onto the toilet as if I had just celebrated my 90th birthday. I have never been able to walk pain free since. However, I am able to do most anything as I have had significant help from chiropractors, acupuncturists and doctors. There have been scores of lessons for me in this, but one primary take-away has been the need we all have to be needy.
Even Christians, those of us who claim to believe that the “meek will inherit the earth,” and in “our weakness HE is strong,” hate needing help. We do well to go overseas and serve those who are poor and desperate, but to be served, to need help…we bristle with resistance. There must be a faulty belief system tucked away in our psyches. When observing the overarching themes of Scripture it is clear that we don’t want any authority other than ourselves. It’s always been this way. We are full, complete, polished and put together. We envy when we see this in other people. And ironically, some of the people who are willing to serve and give and help, are the least able to receive from others when in need.
Jesus welcomes the weak. As a matter of fact, it seemed those who felt the most drawn to Him were those who knew they had an abundance of hardship. Their ache and pain compelled them to seek Him out in a crowd or travel miles to find Him. He found people in graveyards, on their beds sick, and smack in the tangles of their sin. How do we ever know the beauty of His strength or the power of His forgiveness if we never acknowledge our cracked lives? Clean water is refreshing when we are muddled with sweat and stain. We love a prepared meal when we have been hungry. Water is satisfying when we are parched. The sacrifices of a friend on our behalf matter more when we are hurting. I have been so deeply grateful for the faithful prayers of friends when I am aching in pain and loss. And when I was crawling on my hands and knees a friend getting on the floor to look me in the eye mattered more than the conversations I had had daily on my feet at work.
Being human means being needy, limited, wobbly, weak, frail, wanting, longing and reaching. This side of heaven reminds us that we are living in a state of half of who we are. The Spirit even promises to pray for us in our weakness since “we do not know what to pray for as we ought.” Community has been given to us as a means of support and supplication. As a teacher in a local high school, I am reminding my seniors daily that salvation is rather simple: you are screwed up, you need a Savior. They know it’s true but feel the tension in a world that says, “Be perfect and strong, never let them see you sweat!”
What is most marvelous is that Jesus Himself chose weakness and limitation. He modeled for us what it is to lean into the Father. We will not find healing until we can admit we are sick.
Dawn graduated from Messiah College with a degree in English and went on to get her master’s degree in Christian Counseling at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She presently works as a counselor and teacher in the high school at Covenant Day School in Matthews, NC and in her spare time likes to read, write and teach Bible studies. For the last 15 years her passion has been to mentor young women in life and Scripture. Dawn’s blog may be seen here: www.dawnfromphilly.blogspot.com.