I’m utterly exhausted as I write this. But I’m a writer and write I must. Yesterday, I drove my 91-year-old grandmother back home to North Carolina after an eventful trip to see us in Virginia. The events started two hours after she arrived in Virginia when we raced her to the Emergency Room by ambulance and began to wind down when we took her to my sister’s house to recuperate after a week of being in the hospital. Our sleep patterns have been completely interrupted with several overnight stays in the hospital with her to be sure she didn’t fall again. Our emotions are on edge. Our brains are frayed. On top of it all, her house is in utter chaos because of a mold problem that was found while we were away. My mom is sick with a respiratory infection of sorts. My husband got back from a business trip just in time to say goodbye to me. And on top of it all, I don’t drink coffee. But I’m seriously rethinking that even though it tastes disgusting to me. I think in order for the words that come out of my mouth to go in the proper order, I’m going to have to get me a super duper packed full of flavor cup of Joe because well…Reptar, the scary dinosaur inside of me identical to if not worse than the nightmarish monster on the hit 90’s cartoon, Rugrats, has been rearing it’s ugly head out of Emily lately. Yeah, tired doesn’t even begin to describe it. Weak does.
Wouldn’t you know that I’m in the middle of a Bible Study on our weakness vs. God’s strength. Gideon is our messed up Bible character whom we are studying right now. I’m severely behind on my homework and have had to miss the last two weeks of our time to get together and discuss it. But staring at the cover of my book has at least brought me some comfort in knowing I’m not the only weak, messed up person in this life. I was chatting with our dear family friend, Jane, earlier today (I’m sure my part of the conversation made as much sense as Lewis Carol in one of his opium states) about how encouraging it is to know that the majority of the people highlighted in the Bible were screw-ups with baggage, worries, and families full of woes just like the rest of us.
But the thing about those nutcases that God saw fit to be a part of His story through various instances of rescue, leadership, and servanthood is that He chose to use them anyway. My goodness.
Moses had a stuttering problem. And he was a murder. He also married someone from the tribe God had told the Israelites to totally annihilate. Yep, he disobeyed God a time or two. But He still wound up leading the Israelites across dry ground that had been wet two seconds earlier and escaping the oppressors chasing them at their heels. But whose strength did he work in? This man was ‘we’ to the ‘eak’! God chose him and demonstrated His power far greater than He could have through someone who had it all together.
Rahab was a liar. But The Lamb of God used her in spite of her lies. She also was a prostitute. But God redeemed her and made her a mother. And a great great great great great…. Grandmother. To whom you ask? Oh, just Jesus. That’s all. Yeah. That’s a big deal. The lady of the night became a great x like 30 grandmother to The Bright and Morning Star.
David was a scrawny little fellow. His brothers saw him as a rugrat. But God saw a King in Him. He had a man killed in order to steal his wife who he’d been peeping on. But somehow his tales of woe and joy alike have turned into the “go-to” book of the Bible for when you’re searching for peace and to know you aren’t alone. God Himself even was engrafted through his royal lineage in the flesh. Yes, God used Him anyway.
And then, there was Gideon…the embodiment of weakness in so many forms. Doubting Thomas had nothing on him. When God called him, he had to test him not once, but twice to be sure he was really hearing him correctly. Oh. And his family worshipped Baal, a made up god. So he didn’t have much personal experience with this Angel of The Lord who appeared to him. He curtly snapped a lot of ‘well, where was God whens’…. But God saw fit to use him anyway. His weakness was the perfect vessel to show off the Warrior King’s strength. The giver of all good things gave him a new name: “Mighty Warrior.” Gideon most certainly didn’t see anything mighty or warrior like in his character, but God claimed those traits in him because He gave them to him. Yes, God chose to use him anyway.
It’s taken me days to write this. I’m still mighty weak from exhaustion. But God has reminded me He has chosen to use me anyway. The inner Reptar dragon that reared its ugly head last week has been wounded with the arrows of the gospel. One day it’ll be extinct. Hallelujah. I hate my inner Reptar. It’s awful. But, I’m glad to know that I’m in good company. The Author of creation chose to pass down story after story of weaklings with fire breathing dragons inside that came out from time to time to show me that I, too, am not beyond taming.
But the one who tames me is anything but tame. He’s a Lion, whose roar brings the weak to their knees and raises them in His strength.
My inner Reptar is tamed by The Untamed Lion.
“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pitand a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer…” Revelation 20:1-3a