We’ve all heard it, I know I have.
“Jesus isn’t for weak people.”
“It takes strength to be a real Christian.”
“Christianity isn’t for wimps.”
In a thousand different ways the Christian faith is ridiculed and maligned in our culture, sometimes just as an ideology, and sometimes as a personal attack. But inevitably, somewhere in the mix, comes the sneering remark, “Faith is just a crutch for the weak!”
And the flesh rises up in us to defend our strength, our value, our worth, and so we resort to recalling all the images of strength we can draw from Scripture.
But being strong is tiring, and I’ve grown weary.
Today, my disabled son ran away for the countless time. I knelt beside my daughter with significant health problems as she vomited into my hands again. I let my frustration boil over in harsh words. I felt myself withdraw into isolation from those who love me most. I felt like a failure as a father, and a dismal shepherd of my church.
I’m tired. I’m weak.
So come at me, tell me faith is a crutch for the weak.
My response? “You bet it is!”
That’s the point. It’s what I needed to recall today.
The gospel is good news for the weak, and the tired, and ones who’ve come to the end of themselves.
The gospel is for me.
It’s not as though it’s simply useful on the hard days—weakness is the whole point of the gospel.
I’m lame, and without the gospel I’ll live fallen.
I’m blind, and without the gospel I’ll live blind.
I’m deaf, and without the gospel I’ll live in ignorant silence.
I’m mute, and without the gospel I’ll live in stammering incoherence.
The gospel is good news every day. If my faith ever rests on my ability to stand on my own two feet, I’ll have abandoned the gospel of grace and graduated to self-righteous self-reliance.
Unless I am first willing to say that the gospel is required for my weakness, I will never experience the strength of Christ that comes through grace.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
Photos: Norman Schneeberg (head), Robyn Turner (inset); flickr