Turning Weakness Into Strength
“I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms …whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle …These were all commended for their faith …God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:32ff).
The Lord gave Samson strength to rule God’s people in a most unusual way. With bare hands, Samson tore apart a lion. He struck down a thousand enemies with the jawbone of a donkey. In one last burst of strength as a prisoner, he brought the temple down on the Philistines who were mocking the Lord. He lived in the shadow of the promised Messiah and died in faith for Christ. His “weakness was turned to strength.”
Adam was an athletic teenage boy who battled cancer for several years. He died in the hospital at the age of seventeen, but like Samson, his “weakness was turned to strength.”
On one of my visits with Adam, I asked him to pick out a Bible story. The strength God had given to Samson appealed to this cancer-weakened boy, and he chose the story of Samson for us to discuss. Yet without realizing it, Adam was becoming stronger than Samson. He told me he was afraid to die, but that he found comfort in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus his Savior. The more we talked about Jesus and the promises of God during our visits, the more Adam’s physical weakness began turning into spiritual strength. Adam may have lost the physical battle, but today he enjoys the blessings of heaven.
During the final months of his battle with cancer, Adam shared the comfort he found in Jesus with his parents, siblings, friends, and even the staff at the hospital. Like Samson, Adam impacted the lives of others, not with physical strength, but with his faith in Christ. In a special grief support group for the hospital staff after his death, I was able to expound upon Adam’s faith and the comfort he found in Christ. I was also able to use Adam’s understanding of Samson and his faith in Christ to bring comfort to his family as they mourned his death. What a privilege to serve as an Institutional Ministries chaplain and witness how God turns weakness into strength.
Chaplain Ken Wenzel