Monday, March 16, 2009


A warm spring day years ago when he was a toddler, Seth & I went to a Texas Rangers game. We sat high up from the right field foul line with few other fans around. With 20,000 empty seats there was plenty of space so we didn't sit for long. Seth wanted to roam. Up & down. Aisles to aisle. Home plate to foul pole. Right to left & back again & again & again in the picture of Ameriquest Field above. He had no concern for the game. He just toddled.

By the end of the game, going down the broad, spiralling walkway toward the exit Seth started to stumble. Weak from too many little steps around the big ballpark. Worn with blisters beginning on the sides of his sandals. I did what any Dad would do. I put him on my back to carry him. The tireless roamer laid his head on my back as I marched toward the car.

Yesterday, I was convicted by a verse:

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express."
Romans 8:26

I was captured by the phrase "in our weakness."

The Bible has more to say about weakness:

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 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

Jesus' power is made perfect in our power? No. We delight in power? No. When I am powerful, then I am strong? No.


Our weakness. Astheneia in Greek means our "sickness, infirmity, feebleness or frailty." Sounds like that's close to the end. Sounds bad. Sounds like surrender. Surrender of our will. Giving up our delusion of control.

Yet it is there, at the end of ourselves, that the Spirit meets us to "help" us. And from the rare category of words defined with fewer letters or syllables that than the word itself posses... that Greek word for "help", sunantilambanomai, means "to carry with."

One of its roots is lambano, to receive or take. Among its occurrences in New Testament is Matthew 8:17. It says Jesus "took up" our astheneia (weakness, infirmity). To me that means, "to carry for."


At the end?

Who is carrying with you?

Who is carrying for you?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tears for a Friend

Have you ever cried for a friend?

You hurt because they hurt. You wish you could change their circumstances. You want to make it all better. You pray that everything would come right. You cry for a friend.

You see where things are headed. You expect the anticipated end. You know its just not here yet. You hope the end comes or maybe you hope against it. You cry for a friend.

I am comforted. Jesus cried for his friend, Lazarus. Jesus knows hurt. Jesus knows life. Jesus knows pain. Jesus knows me. He knows my friend.

Thank you, Jesus, for tears.

Thank you, Jesus, for my friend.

Thank you, Jesus, for befriending me.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Question Marks

Olympic marathoner, Peter Maher states, "Running is a big question mark that's there each & every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp, or are you going to be strong today?'"

I finished my second marathon feeling more wimp than strong on Saturday whipped by the 20-plus mph north winds that arrested my steps six out of the final eight miles. With greater nausea than celebration I crossed the finish line 10 minutes & 41 seconds beyond my four hour goal. Was I strong? Did I wimp out?

Running isn't a question mark for most. Life is. Work is. Marriage. Money. Parenting. Love. Forgiveness. Self. Pain. Addiction. Past. Future. Those are question marks.

How will I answer?

Where will I turn?

What will I do?

Who will I trust?

"There are grave difficulties on every hand, and more are looming ahead; therefore, we must go forward," wrote William Carey, founder of the modern missionary movement & no stranger to danger.

Psalm 23 goes so far to say that God's people will "walk through the valley of the shadow of death" & not over or around it. In John 10, Jesus refers to himself as the Good Shepherd who protects & cares for his followers that he analogizes to sheep. In verse four Jesus says, "his sheep follow him because they know his voice."

What do I do with the question marks in my life? The big ones? The scary ones? The little ones too?

Follow Jesus.

Move forward.

Answer the questions.