Imagine this. A real honest to goodness snow day in Knoxville. (Granted our snow days consist of 2 inches or less…but the ground WAS white.) Now imagine two little girls with Dad, a sled and a big hill. God is so crazy in how He shows up and shows off.
Chuck had often told the girls that when there was enough snow, he would take them to Lakeshore Park and slide down the big hills. With me out of town, it was the perfect day. So off they went, bundled and mittened, sled in hand. Salem went flying down the hill first, screaming. Chuck went flying too. Little Charis would hop on and ride with one of them and even though it was freezing they had a blast. But Charis just couldn’t bring herself to go solo.
“Charis, do want to go on your own?” Chuck asked.
“Yes,” she said almost paralyzed, as she looked down the hill, with sled string tight in her hand. Chuck could tell it took everything in her to even consider it this notion.
“I believe in you, baby. You can do it. You’ll be fine. Worst case is, you’ll wipe out, and it will just be like rolling over in the snow. Now, go on.” Dad was trying to build, encourage, or whatever it would take to motivate her to action. It didn’t connect for Charis. She walked to the sled. Put a foot out to get on, pulled it back. Thought about it, moved toward it again, and walked away. The whole time Chuck was showering, “You’ll be fine, you can do it, go for it,” etc.
It was high hill. And it was a long way for a little girl. Chuck encouraged and coached her. But no go. Finally time was running out, she had to either jump on alone or go home. Charis really wanted to go on her own, and both Salem and Chuck wanted that for her too. Still no go. Here is where the story turns.
Big sister Salem says, “Hey Charis, how about you sled and I’ll run down the hill beside you? I’ll be right there with you.”
That did it. Charis jumped on. Off they went, Charis screaming all the way down the hill, part glee, part terrified, and Salem running full bore to stay with her. It was beautiful.
In the car, later, Chuck said to the girls, “Salem, what you did was so amazing. You shared your strength, so she could do it. Charis, you totally did it on your own, and that was awesome, but Salem shared her strength so you could see that you were strong, that you could do it.”
When we all reunited and Chuck told me this great story, it rumbled way down in my heart. Shared strength.
And I realized this is a great picture of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is a picture of the way “They” lovingly interact and share Their strength with us. He is our loving Father, coaching and encouraging us, believing we can do more than we see.
But He is also the Son who knows our weakness and runs along side us in the journey, even the big hills. His presence gives us the example, even though running down a hill is not nearly as fun as sledding. Even though carrying a cross is not nearly as fun as the resurrected life…
But then, the Holy Spirit is the one getting us in the sled. He is the one completing the instruction of the Father and example of the Son in us. He gives courage in action as we are going. Beautiful. Simply beautiful He is.
Thank you Lord for Your shared strength. Help us to follow Your example, and run down the big hills with others. Amen.