If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times. “We stand on the shoulders of men and women who have gone before . . .”
You do? May I ask why?
The shoulders of men and women are weak shoulders. Have you ever thought about what sin does to a person? These people are not giants. At their best, they are completely flawed. They’re unable and unfit, and they aren’t meant to carry your weight.
And you’re telling me you stand on their shoulders?
“Ah, but there is grace,” you say. Yes, and grace has made them usable in spite of their weakness.
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. 1 Cor 1:27
If I named my spiritual heroes, “giants” on whose shoulders I’m apparently supposed to stand, I could name more than a handful without hesitation. Joni Eareckson Tada. Corrie ten Boom. Elisabeth Elliot. Darlene Diebler Rose. Jim Elliot. John Piper. Chip Stam. The list could go on and on.
The lives of these men and women display a deep union with their God of which I could only dream. They experienced things I never will and have been used by God in a way that is so profound that, more often than not, I read their stories and their writings with a silent awe, jaw dropped and tears running free.
Yes, this makes me want to stand on their shoulders.
Why do I choose not to?
Because they would be horrified if I did. They would undoubtedly agree that they are only sinners saved by the unusual, indescribable grace of a God who would see fit not only to redeem them, but to also work in them mightily and use them powerfully.
Then what do we see in them? We see nothing more than a relentless desire to know God and to allow that overwhelming craving to seep into everything about their lives.
Joining countless others, I share their broken story and the rare yearning they’ve been so graciously gifted.
And so, we are the same. Human and graced.
Nobody need stand on anybody’s shoulders.
If we tried, we’d often fall or end up in a place we never intended to go, because we would be at the mercy of human guides with limited knowledge and less-than-perfect motives. All around is sinking sand.
Rather, we are beyond blessed to walk hand-in-hand, journeying through this place we mistakenly call “home.” And together, as brothers and sisters, we walk in love, being led by the only reliable Guide who knows all things and who has his glory and ours in mind. On Christ, the solid Rock, we stand.
Resting on his shoulders, may we find our confidence.
[image credit: pixabay.com, journeyoftheword.com]