Monday, October 27, 2014

Revel in Your Smallness

(Written for my dear, sweet friend whose legs have been made into mush)

I have a picture of my nephew that I just love.  You're going to have to use your imagination because this picture hails from about 9 years ago which, amazingly, was before everyone posted pictures on Facebook for strangers and old high school acquaintances to see. (I actually think it came from a film camera.  I know, right?)

Eben, around 3 years old at the time, stands in sweatpants and a sweatshirt, a precious little baseball cap and squinting into the sunlight coming from behind his mommy's camera.  He is grinning an ear-to-ear kind of grin, and behind him you see the giant scoop of a backhoe resting on the dirt.  I mean, this thing is huge. The enormous claw of the machine stands even taller than this whole little human, and you can see the giant yellow arm reaching up far beyond the picture's edge. It's clear that the overwhelmingly large metal scoop is only a tiny part of the huge machine.

And Eben is loving it.

The contrast is so striking.  The smallness of my tiny, chubby-cheeked nephew just makes the machine look that much more powerful. And it is so clear by the look on his face that simply standing in front of such a huge machine is a genuine thrill to him.

I love that picture because, well, first of all because, oh my gosh he's so stinking cute.  I mean, come on.  But I love it for another reason.  It serves as a fabulous reminder for me to revel in my smallness.

Standing near something that was so big, so strong, so capable of so much was all that he needed to be giddy in his smallness.  It is the bigness of the backhoe and the smallness of himself that makes him love it as much as he does.  Being little shows just how big the backhoe really is.

I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, Paul says, so that Christ's power may rest on me. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Huh? What?  Being strong because you're weak is an oxymoron.  It's nonsensical.  It's dumb.

But Paul backs up his claim.  The man was truly, genuinely, and pitifully weak.  Beaten, tortured, shipwrecked, sickly, beaten again, snake bitten, flogged, stoned, and beaten again, hungry, thirsty, cold and naked.  Folks, he spent a night and a day in the open sea. (I get so stressed out with that every single time.)

This man (whom I will remind you was extremely learned and devout and pious and "perfect") focused his boastings on the things he had suffered. He pointed out the times he was poor and broken! He actually reminded people of his pains.  Because, when I am weak, then I am strong.

But [Christ] 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong. ~2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Paul stood like Eben - small, so small - but leaning on something huge. And strong. And so powerful.  And really, the smaller you are, the bigger He looks.  And the weaker you are, the more impressive your impact.

Be small.  Be weak.  And get a simple thrill from standing in front of such magnificent power.