This past week I was home ill with the flu. I don’t remember the last time I was so sick. Have you ever been sick like that? Spending your days in bed or on the couch, curled up in a blanket, hacking your lungs out wondering when it was all going to be all over? Yes, for this past week, I kept wondering when the crummy was going to come to an end. I really hate being sick.
There are lots of things being sick can teach you. First, that you are not as tough as you think you are, and that not bathing for a few days really won’t kill you (I bet you thought you would never hear a woman say THAT). Second, that some people do love you for more than your looks and your smell (like your spouse). And third, that what God chooses to use to slow us down is not always what we would find the most convenient.
How do you look at the crummy side of life? Is it something that God uses to reveal something more to you or perhaps to reveal more of you to others? No one is more real than when they are sick and all pride is tossed aside. Being sick is the quickest way to remind one of their humanness, and how alike we all are. I think it is within this weakness that we are all the same; we always seem to be the most divided when we are strong. Do you think that perhaps this is why God requires us to be weak in order to serve Him? Before He will show us His power?
It is so easy to divide ourselves into camps of strength, each claiming to know what is best for everyone else. But no wisdom is ever shared by the banging of drums, by shouting, by calling each other names or by generally being rude bullies. No one ever hears the angry mob; if that was really effective at conferring truth Jesus himself would have used the tactic. Instead He does quite the opposite, using the “still small voice” calling out from the wilderness. Is it any wonder that sometimes the only way we can hear this voice is when we ourselves are weak, when we are forced to fall back and be silent? Perhaps this is why we fear being weak so much; we fear facing and hearing God.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying we should embrace illness as a means to understand God. Or that we should continue to be weak as a nation in order to fulfill the will of God. What I am trying to say is that only in our weakness can humanity ever hope to be united, because it is only in our weakness that we will be able to fully let God in. A nation that welcomes God will always be a force to be reckoned with, both in peace and in war. In peace, because they will always be a nation that loves more, serves more and gives more, for they will remember from whom their help comes. In war, because they will never fear to take a stand against evil wherever it exists. Such a nation will be unafraid to be united in their weakness because they will know that their strength comes from God.
We were such a nation once, and we can be again. The question is, are you strong enough to be weak?
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” The Holy Bible, 2 Chronicles, Chapter 7, verse 14 (NIV)