In our culture weakness is not generally something viewed with positivity.
We enjoyed travelling a lot this summer and everywhere we went each city or region had its own unique strength.
Quebec City is rich in history, French culture, language, and European charm. As my husband and I explored the quaint Old Town we puttered around in galleries, local handcraft shops, outdoor cafés, fashion boutiques, and créperies.
New York City is often referred to as the financial capital of the world. As we strolled through the Stock Exchange area, Tiffany’s, Bloomingdale’s, Rockefeller Center, and observed thousands of employees rushing to and fro in their designer dresses and Italian suits, it was obvious that finance is at the root of this city’s strength.
The cities of Seattle and Bellevue revealed an atmosphere that is built around the strength of its corporate headquarters…Microsoft, Expedia, Starbucks, Nordstrum, Boeing, Amazon.com, and Costco to name a few. The beauty of the surrounding Cascade and Olympic Mountain Ranges drew me in and the proximity of the ocean made this East-Coaster feel instantly at ease.
We took one picture-perfect day and drove to Mt. Ranier. The glistening glacier-capped peak belies its volcanic nature and a drive through its towering forests of Douglas fir, red cedars, and western hemlocks was magical. A short walk barefoot through a river-side beach soon revealed the ultra fine grayish sand clinging to my feet was actually volcanic sand produced by activity over thousands of years. I just had to save a little and bring it home!
We ascended Crystal Mountain in a glassed-encased gondola our view of Mt. Ranier temporarily being obscured by hilly meadows and ski runs. Finally as we crested the top of Crystal Mountain, the full beauty and majesty of Mt. Ranier took my breath away!
While drinking in the clear mountain air I read each interpretive sign pointing out the various peaks, features, and history of the 360° panorama. Due to the clarity of the sky I could see the distant table-top peak of Mt. St. Helens which had erupted in 1980. Reality set in as I realized the very mountain I found so mesmerizing could also explode in the same manner. I marveled at how something so picturesque could become a natural disaster causing widespread devastation, loss of life, and destruction as far as Seattle and its surrounding environs.
A weakness can become a strength. Deep under Mt. Ranier lies much hydrothermal activity that has the potential to produce massive lahars, or volcanic mud and debris flows, threatening the entire region.[i] This knowledge made me feel very small and humble as I allowed this truth to sink in. I put the thought aside as we enjoyed lunch with our mountain vista!
Later as we climbed through winding tree-enveloped roadways and descended via switchbacks and scenic look-offs, my heart was bursting with praise for God’s marvelous creation and His generosity in allowing me to share in its beauty! When we eventually reached the farmlands of the valley below, I began to take notice of the volcano evacuation route signs and silently thanked God that I don’t live under the threat of Mt. Ranier’s weakness becoming its strength.
But not all weaknesses need demonstrate their strength in a potentially negative way. Recently I heard someone say,
“Our weakness is our greatest strength.”
That flies in the face of popular culture! But for the one who places their faith in the God of this universe, our weakness can become our greatest strength. Not because of anything I do, but because my weakness drives me to depend on my Creator and that which I cannot do on my own becomes a potential strength in His all mighty hands.
This morning I read in the book “Jesus Calling” words that related perfectly to me,
“Grow strong in your weakness. Some of my children I’ve gifted with abundant strength and stamina. Others, like you, have received the humble gift of frailty. Your fragility is not a punishment, nor does it indicate lack of faith. On the contrary, weak ones like you must live by faith, depending on Me to get you through the day. I am developing your ability to trust Me, to lean on Me rather than on your understanding. Your natural preference is to plan out your day, knowing what will happen when. My preference is for you to depend on Me continually, trusting Me to guide you and strengthen you as needed. This is how you grow strong in your weakness.”
Isaiah 40:29 says, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
Until next time,