Welcome to Welling. I am grateful that I can contribute to your spiritual well-being and your ministry overflowing based on God’s word and the focus on His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Some time ago, we did a poll of colleagues all across the world as to how they’re feeling during this very difficult time, which may become the standard default way of seizing the life for the rest of our existence.
We simply don’t know what the future holds. And the sentiments that they expressed were quite interesting: everything from powerless to exhausted to stuck. This is the entire world feeling this way. And what can we do about it? There’s physical crises all around, epidemics and pandemics of health challenges.
We don’t know what to do. We don’t know how to potentially ease the situation. There are natural crises as well: from hurricanes to tornadoes to winter storms to heat and a climate change that is affecting the hills and the valleys in broad swaths.
There is social crises: of human and humanitarian crises of proportions that we have not experienced before. There’s economic crises. Some wonder if it’ll take three to seven years to recover from the global pandemic of the coronavirus, the COVID-19.
There is political crises. There’s always been political crises in recent past and in the anticipated future. It seems like we’re never going to get out of political crises. So we are left exhausted, tired, anxious. We wonder if we’ll ever get out of it. Bonnie’s word, my word, for the season, has been grieving. We are befriending and praying for friends who have been greatly affected by all that is happening in the world having lost loved ones. What we need is inner strength and inner fortitude and inner intensity.
So over the next three or four times, I would like to bring this series called “The Strong Weak.” It is a mix of words in order to heighten the emphasis and the impact of what a beautiful passage of scripture that I had never seen before nestled in the Book of Hebrews. Many of you know that the Book of Hebrews was written to a house church. It is one long sermon. I cannot imagine such a long sermon, and I’m glad I can spare you that kind of a sermon.
It is pastoral exhortation to the people of God. In Hebrews chapter 12, verses 12 and 13, these two versus have something to do with inner fortitude, not only for ourselves, but for those around us. Please listen very carefully to what it says. It says, “Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”
Let me repeat it again for you. “Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”
He’s talking about the feeble, the weak, and the lame. Does that feel like you? Yes, it’s felt like that to me. The fact of the matter is that all of us are weak. None of us is strong, but there are stronger among the weak. And to us comes a set of words.
In the weak, the lame, the disabled, the feet, the arm, and the knees, you find some metaphors, –orthopedic metaphors, athletic metaphors– for a race that is set in front of us. Body metaphors. Because there can be a weakening of the heart, of the mind, of the soul, and strength itself. So He says, strengthen your arms. I’m going to equate you to the weakening of our work.
It’s actually a metaphor from neuroscience. I’m going to quote it. Where we want to walk away, there’s something has happened to our mind that we don’t want to shoulder responsibility. Who has not felt that way over these last months? And what about the knees? The knees could stand for the weakening of the will, an orthopedics metaphor. Anybody who’s had knee surgery know how painful this is.
I had both my sisters-in-law, my wife’s sister and my brother’s wife, both undergo knee surgery at the same time. And you need a very strong will to get up on those crutches and walk in therapy and then into full healing. And what about the feet? That could be the weakening of our walk itself, the kinesiology, the loss of energy. We get lame in the marathon course, the marathon walk of life.
Do you feel a weakening of the resolve? That the nerve that we need to keep on the verve and the zeal that we need in order to navigate life seems to be evaporating and weakening? Well, the people of the Book of Hebrews, they needed this kind of a fortification. And so, in this one long sermon, we are only taking a small part of a small part of a small part of a chapter.
The pastor there is saying, I want you to be encouraged. I want you to know that something can happen when you set to strengthening yourself. Not only will you be stronger, you will be helping others who are weaker than you to be stronger. All are weak. None is strong. And you, who are the strong among the weak, by strengthening yourself, can make the weaker strong.
So let’s come back to verse 12 in our next session. No one is strong-strong, but we have the strong weak among the weak, who can strengthen themselves and strengthen others who are weak.