Mere Men

I can’t tell you how many movies I’ve seen where the protagonist at the last possible moment is saved from certain doom by that friend. It seems to be a very common theme in movies, but why is that? This fact used to seriously bother me when I was younger because the hero/heroine was not enough on their own to overcome the arch-nemesis or the main obstacle. On their own, they simply weren’t adequate.

“I don’t believe it’s strength that makes the man, but the strength of those propping him up.”

I believe this theme carries because it is desperately true of our everyday lives. We were created to be in community, because the mountains and valleys of life are simply overwhelming for the lonely, solitary traveler. We need others to share the joys, the pain, the triumphs and the defeats.

I know a friend who has told me on a couple occasions that I “live life well,” which got me to thinking about the statement’s true meaning. I don’t know how to live life better than anyone around me, but I do have something that some of these people do not. I have an astounding support system of family and friends. To reference Sir Isaac Newton, it is because of them I stand on the shoulders of giants.

I have been blessed in a way that is both subtle and very profound. Their contributions to my life are regular, but their impact is massive. So often, I take these people for granted. However, the truth of my life is that it is only as capable as those who are there bracing me against the storms of life. I am nothing without them.

This is the way God intended life. Yes, He has enabled me to be empowered by His Spirit, but all too often I mistake this for my putting on the cape of Superman. Truth be told, I am but an organ in the much larger body of believers and I cannot function properly outside of the communal context (1 Corinthians 12:12). Without the rest of the body, an eye is just a mass of goo. (I believe that’s the scientific definition).

Having recently begun a new journey in life through uncharted territory, it has never been more important for me to recognize this pivotal truth. I have had to take inventory and ask if I have the strength to take on this adventure. What I was really asking is if God has given me the necessary structure to keep me from falling flat on my face. He answered quietly and deliberately this weekend.

God does not place us in positions or situations that He has not already given us the necessary support to sustain us (1 Corinthians 10:13). However, we can take it for granted and ignore it. This is when I have gotten myself into trouble. This is when my life falls apart and I feel isolated and powerless. This is when I am powerless.

There are people in my life who have done things that simply amaze me. I recently took the time to step back and just marvel at what God accomplished in their lives. Then I realized, these are the very giants pushing me up on their able shoulders. Right now, I am blown away.

What about in your life? Do you have that support? Do you have those people? If not, I cannot urge you strongly enough to ask the question “why”? I doubt the answer you’ll find is that they just don’t exist. Find them.

Individually, we are mere men. Together, we make giants. Alone, we are lonely and misunderstood. In community, we are accompanied by kindred sojourners and involved in a beautiful exchange of understanding stemming from a grace-saturated honesty. Friend, the choice is yours.