Fragile, Beautiful, Strong

MyrtleMyrtle  is almost 97. She has outlived three husbands after being married for over 72 years.

She has seen nearly a century of change in a hard-scrabbled life that would have left most people bitter. But not her.

She laughingly says God only takes you home when He’s finished with you, so she must have needed a lot of work!

She is my mother-in-law and has lived with us for over a dozen years. Most of that time amazingly healthy and strong for her age.

But last year she had heart issues that left her far weaker. No longer able to take her beloved daily swims, she now putters around the house with a walker and simply rests her weary bones.

Watching her weakness reminded me of something another old guy once said. Paul, in the Bible. “When I am weak, then I am strong.”

We despise our weaknesses. Whatever our frailties are, whatever our proclivities toward sin and our tendencies toward brokenness–we hate them.

But God doesn’t. He uses them. He humbles us with them and draws us near by creating loving dependency in us. He reminds us of our humanity and the temporal nature of this life…and creates homesickness in us for the way things should be–and the way they will be.

He loves our limps…because He loves watching us struggle toward Him frailty in tow, drawn by a passion that pulls us ever forward into intimacy with the God who saved us by His weakness.

That is why Paul “rejoiced” in His weakness.

Wounds and scars are the altars where the deepest levels of our humanity and the most profound levels of His deity meet in earthy reality–on earth as it is in Heaven.

Fragile. Beautiful. Strong.

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