How are you at your weakest? When life’s juicer has totally drained you until you’re a walking raisin? The raisin I ask is because that’s when I think you’re exposed for who you really are. I think that’s what God wants to see. We all want to be judged when we’re at our best, but as Sean Connery once put it, “Every LOSER whines about their best!” (Only he said it with a really cool Scottish accent. “I mustache you a question, but I’ll shave it for later.”) No, no, I want to see you when you’re on autopilot, when you’ve had about two hours sleep and you look like they wouldn’t let you past the velvet rope at the methadone clinic.
When you are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed you can put up a good front; big generous grin, the patience of a saint, as sharp as a tack, fresher than a TicTac. Sorry, that’s not when the exam takes place. He wants to see the weeble wobble and not fall down. He wants to see you so advanced in your studies that you can literally do it in your sleep. Just like nobody seems to want to take your picture when you’re prepared for it, but they happen to catch a candid shot of you from a weird angle, while you’re nose-mining, clearing out a crouton from the deep recesses of your nasal cavity.
The Bible was written by several writers but only one author. And in the Good Book you may take note of the continual theme of trial by fire. It’s obviously a good thing to be favored by God, but, having said that, you might notice His favorites don’t exactly receive special treatment in terms of the avoidance of suffering — au contraire mousse hair. (That’s French.) Job, for instance, had a bad day. Several. And if St. Paul comes across as having a little bit of an attitude problem, keep in mind that he was regularly beaten, was imprisoned, was bitten by a poisonous snake, was stoned and left for dead (but miraculously didn’t die), imprisoned some more, and then finally decapitated. The earliest Christians were the original Meow Mix, fed to the lions … oh, those were the lucky ones who weren’t set on fire, used as streetlights lighting the way to the Coliseum where their brothers and sisters were makeshift cat food in front of sellout crowds. (This was before cable.)
And then, of course, our Lord who endured the most excruciating punishment anyone has ever faced. Indeed, all of our punishment all at once in the fullness of time. He is our example; the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Weak and exhausted from loss of blood, lack of food and rest, Jesus falls three times under the cross. How many times have you fallen? It’s OK, He keeps helping you up. God wants us at our weakest, because He wants us to come to the realization that we have no power whatsoever without Him. “Let Go & Let God” has reached the unfortunate status of bumperstickerdom, but when trends end and pop culture pops Truth will still be there waiting to be observed and utilized. God wants you running on empty because He wants you emptied of you and refilled and replenished with Him. The elderly and the terminally ill are in the homestretch, approaching the altar; therefore, it’s the enemy’s last opportunity. All hands on deck!
From out of my weakness emerges His strength. Tough times don’t make us, they reveal us. My fellow banished children of Eve, in the overall scheme of things, the trials we suffer are well worth it. Eternity submerged in pure love and light, our inheritance promised us by the embodiment of Truth.
The game is not so much about winning, it’s in seeing how you deal with loss. And if you handle your loss (your cross) with dignity and honor, your defeat turns into a victory; the death becomes the Resurrection. Game over — you win (by the grace of God).
And because, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh weak.” Matt (26:41), you will fail time and again. But He is the Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible; He will look kindly upon us and increase His mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence, submit ourselves to His holy will, which is love and mercy itself. AMEN.
“He Giveth More Grace” by Annie Johnston Flint
He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added affliction, He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials His multiplied peace.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed e’re the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving has only begun.
His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!