Strength and Honor

"This is what the Lord says, "Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom or the strong man boast in his strength..." --Jeremiah 9:23

With so much on my mind yesterday, I walked into my physical therapy session. Progress is slow. Parents need prayer. PrayFit at a crossroads. Swirling and swirling inside my little pea brain. After my daily evaluation, one of the therapists asked that I follow them to the other side of the center. We walked through the machines, the cable stations, and then we finally reached the free weights -- first time in a weight room in close to two years and sentimental me had to pause.

As I looked at the corner of heavy dumbbells, I immediately thought of the movie Gladiator. Remember the scene?

Maximus is about to fight the final battle. As he walked by, his men stood to salute and pay honor. So, I took a deep breath and began to walk. "Weary from battle," I limped through the dumbbell area, and I could faintly hear the iron whispering, "General", "Sir", "Strength and Honor." (Go ahead and humor me by smiling.)

As the therapist and tech worked me through my required stretching, I told them that I used to lift a lot of weight -- even wrote an article (or two) about it. While I laid on my back, they manipulated my legs about me, and I found myself looking up at the ceiling, recounting my personal records -- what I used to bench press and squat. Ah, the glory days. Then in an almost doubtful tone, the young tech said, "Oh yeah? Pretty good." I couldn't help but grin. Then the Holy Spirit spoke, "Tell him what (Who) you really lift." So I did.

Jimmy, circa 1990, with 315 pounds on the reverse-grip bench press.

"It's amazing how the Lord used those old lifting days, and still does," I began. "Today I spend my time describing the weight of God's mercy, and how it crashes down on us. These days, I try and teach others to do more with their health than just be healthy. And of all the things this body should remind us of, our frailty is one of them. All that weight merely helped me realize my smallness. Truth is, our dependence on grace is really our greatest strength."

He looked at me and nodded. I asked him to check out PrayFit.

Oh my friends, although I'm struggling to tie my shoes from a seated position (which I did for the first time yesterday, say "Amen"), I'm grateful for the weight I used to lift -- it helps me remember the weight that only HE can. And yes, as I left the weight room to go back to my therapy station, I couldn't help myself. I turned to that heavy corner, paused and said with a grin..."Strength and honor."

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: What does your health help you realize? How can our grasp of our weakness help us get closer to the Lord? Aren't you glad we don't have to lift the really heavy things of life?

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