Hebrews 12:12-13 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees! “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
The first 11 verses of chapter 12 are dearly loved, and I have written and preached on them more times than I can remember. However, I’m not sure I’ve ever written or preached on these two verses, and they too are powerful. They bring to mind Isaiah 42:3, quoted about Jesus in Matthew 12:20. “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out .” The point is, God is not about “the survival of the fittest.” rather, He “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.” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29) We are all too prone to “shoot the wounded,” as the saying goes. Some people twist this around as an excuse not to confront sin, but that’s like putting a band-aid on cancer. The Bible doesn’t tell us to ignore problems, but rather to reach out a helping hand. Too often the devil deceives us into disqualifying ourselves, encouraging us to focus on real or imagined weaknesses instead of on our all-powerful Lord who can overcome them. These two verses are a logical continuation from verse two, that tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus. If we will do that, we will indeed be strengthened and find that our way has become straight and level.
These verses have come into sharper focus since my wife has developed Parkinson’s Disease. As is well known, that is a disease that attacks all sorts of motor functions, but she is putting up quite a fight! In fact, unless she is particularly tired, people generally don’t notice her tremor, even. However, she goes to physical therapy two times a week and is very careful what shoes she wears. Sometimes getting dressed in the morning can be quite a struggle for her. She seeks, and receives, wisdom as to what to do and how to do it, and is far more accomplishful than many who face far fewer obstacles. She is an inspiration! As I seek to help her, strengthening her and making her path easier as best I can, I need to remember that I need to do the same for those with emotional and spiritual handicaps. I am not to condemn them or “hit them over the head with a Bible,” but come alongside them, lending a hand and encouraging them, so that they may recognize and appropriate the provision and strength that are theirs in Christ. After all, God’s strength is made perfect in weakness! (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Father, thank You for this reminder, particularly on Cathy’s birthday. She has a very full schedule, most of it focused on others rather than herself, which is so typical. I pray that I would be the support she needs and deserves, doing all I can to make this a happy day, leading to many, many more. Thank You. Praise God!