My Resplendent Bride has had a tough couple of days. The combination of chemo and transplant makes for a most nefarious coupling. Danielle hasn’t felt like doing much of anything these last two days, especially the walking and the eating. Nurses love the walking and the eating. May God bless all the nurses, nonetheless (If He be inclined to do so, that is. Scrappy Saints ask God for blessings, rather than demand blessing from God) for where would we be without them? Danielle says she can’t really taste food, and feels yucky when she eats it anyhow.
Simply put: my Resplendent Bride feels weak.
The New Testament was originally written in Koine Greek. Remember that time you were enjoying an ice cream cone while scrolling through your social media only to have a snooty doctrine debater drop the phrase “Actually, in The Greek…” as though it were a pro wrestler’s finishing move? This is why.
Now, according to Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words, the Greek noun for “Weakness” is (astheneo) and occurs 24x in the New Testament. The word is used to identify a class of people without strength.
No, not flattering: America doesn’t roll that way.
America likes sports. America likes sports so much that Pastors have started to call themselves “Life Coaches”. I don’t really know what a “Life Coach” is, but I do know that one of the few categories of people whom I refuse to follow back on Twitter are “Life Coaches” because thus far in my life I’ve done a decent job of avoiding coaches in general, so why change the game plan in the fourth quarter, you know?
I imagine my allergy toward coaches has something to do with not being wild about being told what to do, but that’s neither here nor there.
A shift has occurred when the shepherds seek to trade their flea bitten robes, and shepherd’s crooks for well-fitted polo’s, and whistles.
American society does not value weakness. America all too often associates weakness with loser-dom, and loser-dom is one of the very few sins left in America.
But, New Testament don’t care. Weakness is all over the New Testament: the verb occurs 33x, the noun: 24x, and let us not forget our friend the adjective: 26x.
All of us are weak.
The Apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Romans,
“6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” ~ Romans 5:6 (NASB)
Paul also informs the Corinthians that everyone’s body, even those whose bodies we consider to be strong, is weak compared to the resurrected body to come.
“it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power” ~ I Corinthians 15:43 (NASB)
That includes you, “Life Coach”.
I am not all that enamored by this crop of twenty, thirty… forty (but don’t know it) something preachers my generation is so taken with. No, I don’t subscribe to their podcasts, nor do I follow them on Twitter, and I most certainly don’t want to read their blog post about officiating their first funeral. That’s cute and all, but I want to know what John MacArthur thinks. John Macarthur, John Piper, and the dead guys. On second thought, give me all the old guys, thank you kindly. Give me John MacArthur, John Piper, all the senior saints, and the dead guys.
Even when the preacher guys my age talk about weakness they do so from a position of strength.
They yell with bravado, “Hey guys, let me unpack some weakness for ya!”
The only weakness we see is their struggle to get their hands in and out of the pockets of their jeans (because that’s what preachers in jeans tend to do: spend a lot of time trying to get their hands in and out of their pockets).
Pastor Begg said that people should observe their potential spouse in stressful situations. How does he act when things go wrong? Does he ever visit his great aunt in the nursing home? How does she treat her father? How do they handle losing? Do they help those whom they cannot profit from?
How do they act when they are sick? How do they handle hospitals?
How do they walk in weakness?
I don’t think I handle weakness very well.
During this stay in the hospital I’ve grown attached to pushups, because pushups can go with you anywhere.
The exercise, not the Flintstones sherbet treat.
When my Resplendent Bride went into the bathroom: pushups.
When the nurse walked out of the room: pushups.
After the food fellow drops off my Resplendent Bride’s food tray: pushups.
I had grown illogically attached to this game until one fateful day I felt a sharp pain in my left shoulder.
I sat on the hospital couch feeling as bitter as Jonah on the day that worm ate his pet shade plant (Jonah 4)
So, since I’m often confused with being a Doctor as I walk around the hospital (mostly due to my reticence toward wearing sweatpants in public), and due to the fact that I’m about as jazzed about seeing a doctor as I am about seeing a “Life Coach”: I diagnosed my injury on the Internets.
The Internets say I’ll be fine.
Furthermore, the Internets assure me that whatever I do: DO NOT visit a doctor. This made me happy, because it’s exactly what I wanted to hear.
I sincerely hope The Lord laughed at my pity party.
My Resplendent Bride shines in weakness.
Where I would snap: she is gracious.
Where I would raise my voice: she is gentle.
Where I would be snarky: she is sincere.
I can only imagine a few things more annoying than being woken from one’s slumber repeatedly by white coats: she wishes them a nice day.
I married up.
The strength shown in weakness is much stronger than strength taken for granted during the zenith of might.
Paul famously wrote,
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NASB)
God’s power is manifest as undeniable in weakness because one simply cannot lionize the weak: Jesus gets the glory.
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. ~ Hebrews 4:15 (NASB)
Our Lord Jesus taught that grown men should turn the other cheek, and then lived it. He wept for the death of His friend. He wept over His own death while praying in the garden of Gethsemane.
And get this: long ago, an aged patriarch leaned upon his staff and worshiped out of his weakness:
By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. (NASB)
This is the beauty of weakness.