Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Weakness of Champions

I used to think that heroes were perfect. Knights in shining armor- beautiful warrior princesses - strong and fearless and wise. 

I wanted to be perfect. I would try to avoid doing things I knew I wasn’t good at. From a young age I taught myself to keep my true feelings under an icy cool, composed surface. I trained myself to choke back emotion and not cry in public, so no one could see how they could hurt me. I tried to do all the right things. As a teenager rebellion wasn’t really on my agenda. I strove for a perfect appearance. Anything less was unacceptable, unthinkable, and I wouldn’t admit to it.

Then I became a student missionary. I had no idea how that experience would strip me to the core and make me face my imperfection in all its ugliness. Other people could see it too. It was terrifying. (And the process of discovering my weakness hasn’t stopped to this day!) But I needed it, and I've been learning a lot from it - a lot about heroes.

“The Bible is a strange book because it repeatedly features people as heroes who admit their weaknesses and needs.” (George R. Knight)

An aggressive and self-confident fisherman. Hot-tempered young people, nicknamed “sons of thunder.” A fearful shepherd with a speech problem. A coward from a weak and obscure tribe, the youngest in his family. These aren’t the kind of people I’d think of as hero material. But these are exactly the kind of people God pictures as heroes.

The amazing thing to me is that God sees past their flaws to their potential. When they fall he doesn’t kick them off the program, as it were. He works with them, no matter how long it takes for them to see their own inadequacies and their need of something bigger than themselves.

The champions the Bible paints are great because they admit their own faults, and their helplessness to do much about it.

They show their strength by admitting their weakness.

Then Peter became a fearless preacher who ended up dying for his faith. Moses led a nation out of slavery. James and John became major leaders of the early Christian church. Gideon defeated a marauding army with only 300 men.

Some of the greatest strength is shown in admitting weakness. Only then can God step in and do something really amazing.

“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.” 2 Cor 12:9 NASB

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mum...

...you have given me so much. I don’t think I can scratch the surface, and I don’t think “thank you” quite covers everything I want to say, but I’m going to try.


Thank you for being an amazing teacher. You were a pioneer in homeschooling and endured a lot of raised eyebrows and “checks” from the authorities, answering the same questions again and again from curious or skeptical onlookers. You made my education fun! Even when it wasn’t fun (such happy memories of math…), and I threw tantrums, bawled tears of hopelessness, and couldn’t seem to understand, thanks for not giving up. You gave me my love for music, teaching me what you could on the piano and encouraging me with my practicing, even when I played the same tunes a dozen times a day because I was so nervous about an upcoming exam, or playing in church.

You didn’t throw me out of the kitchen when I had butterfingers and dropped everything, or put salt instead of sugar into the cooking, or put way too much spice in the chili. When you got sick and I had to do all the cooking with Stephen, you put up with me yelling frantic questions every two seconds about what to do. Thank you for your patience! I believe it’s paying off now J

From my earliest memories, you showed me what a relationship with God looked like. You eagerly listened to my “sermons” on a Sabbath afternoon, included me in family worship, and I learnt what a devotional life was from watching you and Dad. Thank you for all your prayers for me, and for not giving up on me when I was unsupportive of what God was asking you and Dad to do. You helped show me what God is like.

As I grew up, you told me some of your own experiences of being a teenager and gave me good advice – although I didn’t fully appreciate a lot of it until much later. You put up with slammed doors and moody silences. When I wanted to stretch my wings, or when God called me to work on the other side of the world from you, although you shed tears in airport terminals, you let me fly. Thank you.

Even when I called you “Mom”, you didn’t mind! (Or perhaps you didn’t notice?!)

Now, in times of massive change, I so often feel like an ignorant little girl even though I’m supposed to be an adult, but you continue to support me, direct me, pray for me, and love me. Thank you.

I don’t know what I’d do without you!