I threw my back out a few hours ago. I was carrying our foster daughter in her car seat, and pain suddenly shot up my back. One moment I felt like the epitome of health and strength, the next I felt as if I could do nothing. I wanted to cry out in agony, but it hurt to make even the slightest movements.
It caused me to remember something about our spiritual condition. We sometimes feel as though we are unstoppable, but the reality is that we are so very frail. We are nothing without Christ. We need to rely on His strength.
There are a few things we can and should do even when we feel as though we can do nothing:
- Get some rest. When it comes to my back, I’m going to be lying down a lot and making sure I don’t overdue it these next few days. Spiritually, when you feel weak, rest in Christ. Rest in what He’s done for you. Find encouragement in God’s Word. Pray. These are things we ought to be doing all the time, and our weakness is a good reminder that we need them all the more.
- Do what you can. Even though it hurts, I can still move a little. And if I continue to stretch, it will help my back recover more quickly. Even though I feel powerless, I need to keep working. And even though we are powerless without Christ, in Christ we have strength because the Holy Spirit strengthens us. Don’t use your sin/weakness as an excuse for laziness. Explore what God has gifted you to do, and ask God for the strength to do it, even when you feel weak.
- Ask for help. I’m probably going to wear my wife’s hands out as I ask for gentle massages until my back recovers. Although we often like being independent and self-sufficient, and we generally dislike being a burden to others, the truth is, we can’t live this life by ourselves. We need each other, especially when we’re feeling weak. Ask others to pray for you. Go to those who you know will encourage you and give you good, biblical advice.
- Take the right medicine. I took some ibuprofen almost immediately after I hurt my back, and I had a bit of relief from the pain within half an hour. If I had simply ignored the pain, or tried to convince myself that I had no pain, I would likely still have just as much pain as I did at first. In a similar way, Jesus is the only medicine for sin and weakness. We can’t merely press on without Him. We can’t be healed unless we go to the Healer. This pertains to salvation, yes, but it also pertains to our daily walk. When you’re weak, go to Christ. When you feel tempted, go to Christ. When you’ve failed so many times and don’t know where to go, go to Christ. There’s forgiveness at the cross, and there’s grace so powerful it can change you and give you hope.
My back will heal, but I will continue to have sin in my life until God calls me home to Heaven, and so will you. This is why it is so incredibly important to rest in the only One who can heal us and strengthen us to do what He wants us to do, even when we feel powerless to do it.