Brian Shaw is 6 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs over 450 pounds. He was the 2011 winner of the World’s Strongest Man competition. Brian was born in Colorado, played basketball and was always able to lift things nobody else could lift, things like big tires and huge rocks. He was a giant among men even as a kid. Brian’s strength is incredible. He can lift objects that mirror his own weight. Awesome!
Though I have no idea what else might make Brian strong, I know that I can barely lift a few boxes of books without getting weary. My strength will never even be in the same league with his. Yet, each day, I hope to have more strength too. I hope and pray for the kind of strength that will allow me to rise up above all my own weaknesses and become more of what I believe I’m designed to become. Though I’ve yet to mount up and fly on eagle’s wings as it says in Isaiah, I know I am renewed every morning, able to lift up incredible people, ideas, hopes and dreams through the power of prayer. I know that in that particular arena, I’m in a great company of warriors, stronger than ten men, and yet not competitive.
Recently, I spent three weeks on the road, in three different states, working, leading workshops, taking in the hearts and minds and conversations of people who were once strangers and who are now friends. It was an incredible experience, one that strengthened and renewed my spirit and my joy. Sure, I couldn’t lift much more than a coffee cup when I returned home, having depleted a great deal of the strength God gave me to do that work. For me though, it was a gift of grace, a tremendous opportunity to move giant boulders out of the way of my own thinking and possibly the thinking of others as well. It was a chance to step into the arena of words and ideas, of songs and worship, of gifts of the Spirit, ever strengthening, ever humbling.
Believe me, I have great respect for those who can lift four hundred pound objects high above their heads with ease. It’s spectacular! But for me, the only strength I really have comes from the One who continually renews our spirits and our minds, the one who lifts us up and gives us a chance to lift others too. Though the outward me is declining, as it reminds us in 2nd Corinthians, the inward me is simply getting stronger every day…thanks be to God!
Never doubt how strong you are. For the Spirit of the One within you is undefeated.