"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,
There are times when we are the strengthener and others when we are the one who needs strengthening. Hands weak, knees feeble, lame limbs out of joint, all need to be strengthened and healed. Then afterwards, it's all about the path, keeping it straight.
Around our house, we understand about out of joint limbs. My husband inherited ligaments which were too loose to hold his kneecap in place. He lived years in misery as it would slip out of place, even going completely behind his leg. Intense pain. He's had multiple surgeries to fix this. Our daughter also inherited those loose ligaments and has to be very careful so her knees do not go out of joint.
Also around our house, they have to live with me and my times of weakness, the numb hands, the numb legs, the pain. There is a weakness, puny times, due to autoimmune issues that come and go. But I think most of us know that we all go through times of weakness whether or not it shows on the outside. I do know that I'd rather be the one to bring healing than the one who needs to be healed. James says...
"Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray.
Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises.
Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call the elders
of the church and they are to pray over him,
anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord;
and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick,
and the Lord will raise him up,
and if he has committed sins,
they will be forgiven him.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another,
and pray for one another so that you may be healed."
There were many examples of Jesus healing the lame like this one:
"Immediately his feet and his ankle bones received strength.
And he, leaping up, stood, and began to walk;
and he entered the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God."
I like the quote,
"The world says that you made your bed so lie in it,
but Jesus says to take up your bed and walk."
Isaiah 35:3-4 says,
"Encourage the exhausted,
and strengthen the feeble.
Say to those with anxious hearts,
'Take courage and fear not..."
You see, this race we are on is not singular. We run as a team all together. We can pick up those crutches others drop and hand them back. We can push those in wheelchairs or run alongside those in electric carts. We can push those hospital beds with patients hooked up to their IVs to the finish line. We can give a hand to help up those who have fallen. We can hand over a water bottle for them to grab. We can even carry on our back those who are too weak to continue physically on their own but who have their eyes on the goal. Isn't that what you would wish someone would do for you when you feel feebly? This is the body of Christ, the hands of Christ, the feet of Christ, moving together to take us toward the prize.
Okay, now let's look at that straight path we are to take. Why is it that we have a tendency to say, "Oh, look over there! That looks like a fun way to run!" Adam Clarke says, "do not go in crooked or rough ways, where are stones, briers, and thorns, by which you will inevitably be lamed." Psalm 5:8 says, "Make Your way straight before me." This can also mean a smooth path. Now why would we want anything else to run on? Yet, most do choose other paths.
Matthew 7:14 tells us the way
"Enter through the narrow gate;
for the gate is wide and the way is broad
that leads to destruction,
and there are many who enter through it.
For the gate is small and the way is narrow
that leads to life,
Yet we have an encouraging word in Isaiah 40:29-31.
"He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might,
He increases power.
Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
You see, when it is all said and done, yeah we can help out our fellow runners some, but it is God who gives us the strength.