The last thing I remember was telling my daughter to repeat the first line of her new song. We still had a few minutes to practice before we left for her school concert, and she was finally making some progress on her new piano piece. My wife was upstairs getting ready, and I wanted to take advantage of the time.
And then, just like that, I was in the back of an ambulance.
Excruciating pain in my lower back.
Zero recollection of the previous 20 minutes.
Out of nowhere, at age 39, I suffered a grand mal seizure. Lost consciousness. Stopped breathing. My wife and kids thought I was dead. And if that wasn’t traumatic enough, I also fractured three vertabrae on my not so graceful tumble to the ground. I can suggest better ways to spend a Tuesday evening.
I’ve had plenty of downtime over the last week to think, to worry, to be afraid, to feel guilty for my self-pity in light of other’s much darker plights, to be angry at my four decade old body for not bouncing back as fast as I think it should. But of all the pending plot lines, one story seems to be rising above the rest.
I’m a broken human being. Quite literally broken. I’ve got the MRI and CT Scans to prove it. And that’s incredibly frustrating.
At this stage of my life, I need to be stronger. I need to be wiser. I need to be the kind of leader, and father, and husband, and friend that people can lean back into without my spine (actually) crumbling under the weight. In fact, that’s what I’ve been begging God for over the past few months – to make me stronger! And yet here I am, having never felt more weak. I pray for one noble thing, for the power to steward the growing responsibilities being placed on me, and I get the exact opposite. What kind of promise is that?
And then He whispers…
“‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” –2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT
Sometimes God gives us exactly what we ask for, even when we don’t understand what we’re asking for. Sometimes the most empowering gift we can receive is learning that we’re not the One in power. Sometimes the strength we long for requires us to embrace our weakness.
I don’t know what you’re facing today. It might be much more catastrophic than an unclassified seizure or a fractured back. All I can tell you is that it’s ok to be feeble, to be broken, to be weak. Real strength is found in the most counterintuitive places.