I was really touched at church this past week. One of our “more seasoned” members read a long scripture reading. There were two readings this week and he had a hard time seeing the words on the page. He can only see well out of one eye and that eye had a tear in it so he wrestled through the text that we could all read very clearly on the screen behind his head. After that, the man picking up our attendance cards has difficulty walking and it took him a while to get up all the cards. Later this brother waited on the table and passed the Lord’s Supper, limping through the aisles.
As I participated in this service on Sunday I couldn’t help but be reminded of what Paul said to the Corinthians:
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”
I couldn’t help but sit there and think, “this is how it is supposed to look. This is who we are supposed to be.” When the world looks at people it often looks for weakness. But through Christ we all realize just how weak we really are. When we look to Jesus we all realize just how foolish we are. We all realize just how despised we are. Through Christ we are all on a level playing field, whether or not we can see well or walk well or talk well – He is the one who makes nothing into something. And we are all nothing without Him.
I was also reminded of the beautiful passage in Isaiah 35:
“The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God. Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor will any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there,
and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
God’s plan is to restore to us our the original intention of how we were made to operate. And he is doing that right before our very eyes. When we look at someone and think to ourselves they are weak, we cannot help but be humbled by the fact that we too are weak. We too often lack the ability to see clearly or to walk well or to speak properly, only in a spiritual sense. And which is worse, having legs that don’t cooperate or paralysis in our spiritual legs as evidenced by our lack of movement in our spiritual maturity? Which is more serious, having physical eyes that lack vision or eyes that have grown dim to the spiritual realities that surround us on a daily basis?
We are all humbled and reminded that we all are alike and weak and unable. It takes away our pride. It takes away our boasting. It turns our worldly way of looking at people right-side-up. We turn to the Lord who puts us all on a level playing field. He is the only one who is able to make us whole – and we all need to be made whole regardless of what we look like on the outside. We are also reminded that we are all alike in who God is making us to be – a people who boast in him alone because apart from him we are nothing (1 Cor 1:31).
What has God used to humble you lately?