Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

Hebrews 12: 12 (NASB)

 

This is a comment about faith. That wonderful, sometimes completely inscrutable quality of life that takes us out of the tangible and the temporal and translates people into the realm of the mystical, that of spirit and of eternity made real. There is recognition of the fact that none of us will go through life in a manner wherein we are always walking on strong legs and making decisions that are formed out of clear reason and sound logic. Life throws curves and dips and bends our way, and it does all of this in a manner that often seems to be determined for maximum disorienting effect. Our world can be cruel with people in it whose pain or hunger drives them to behave in ways that are deadly and despicable for the pain and destruction that they create. We also do harm to ourselves through our actions and our thoughts. The imperfection, the brokenness of this world is infectious as it eats away at our minds, hearts, and spirits.

 

Still, God tells us that faith is the answer to it all. Faith leads us deep into the story of God’s involvement with people from the start of time, and it also sets before us the testimony of multitudes that have experienced the Lord’s loving intervention in their own damaged and tortured days. It would be great if it were that simple, just recall how God has been faithful and hold on tight to the stories of how an unshakeable faith has overcome all that is hard, terrifying, and oppressive in this world and in our own lives. It is not that easy, and most of us have lived through those terrible hours, days, and years of being held captive by forces that are beyond our control, or so they may seem. The writer of Hebrews suggests that we need to take control of where we go, how we step and by inference, what we think. This is all true, to a point. We do get to make choices and decisions regarding what we let into our minds and our hearts. We can focus on God’s truth and listen to His voice of wisdom. Still, this world is loud, and its voices are strident in their attempts to gain our attention and to speak devious and deceptive ideas into our hearts.

 

Personal righteousness and our own walk with God are important, but we do not make it through this life by ourselves. This journey is meant to be joined in with others. Those witnesses of faith that Hebrews speaks about are historic figures and they are also ones who dwell with us today. The people from the past are examples to follow, but those examples are given flesh by people today and tomorrow, by you and I, as we all live out our faith in God while undergoing the stresses and the challenges of life. Most of us want to appear strong and capable. We are uncomfortable with having our doubts, concerns, and fears known by others; yet, this is what God asks of us. He wants us to express to Him all that is in our minds and on our hearts. He promises to grant us strength and wisdom when we are wrung-out and frazzled. This support and encouragement will come from the Lord, but He often uses people just like us to deliver the word of truth that we need and to provide the hands that hold up our weary arms and wipe the tear stains from our faces. Straight paths are best found when we seek them in the company of friends, and our broken limbs gain strength and healing as they are supported by Christ’s body of faith.