Turns out that crooked church steeples make people nervous. When we visited some friends, they shared how, after a fierce windstorm, their church’s proud steeple was crooked, causing some alarm.
Of course, the church quickly repaired the flagging spire, but the humorous image got me thinking. Often church is seen as a place where everything is expected to look perfect; it’s not seen as a place where we can show up crooked. Right?
But in a fallen, broken world, all of us are “crooked,” each with our own collection of natural weaknesses. We might be tempted to keep our vulnerabilities under wraps, but Scripture encourages the opposite attitude. In 2 Corinthians 12, for example, Paul suggests that it’s in our weaknesses—for him, an unnamed struggle he calls a “thorn in my flesh” (v. 7)—that Christ is most likely to reveal His power. Jesus had told Paul, “My power is made perfect in weakness” (v. 9). So Paul concluded, “For Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (v. 10).
We may not like our imperfections, but hiding them only denies Jesus’s power to work within those aspects of ourselves. When we invite Jesus into the crooked places in us, He gently mends and redeems in ways our effort could never accomplish.
What are some of the “crooked” places in your life? In what ways have you seen God work through your imperfections?
Paul had a vision of heaven where he received “great revelations” (2 Corinthians 12:7). Because of this great privilege, Paul was given a “thorn in [his] flesh” (v. 7). This “thorn” is not specifically identified, which enables us to relate to Paul’s experience. Even though we haven’t had visions of heaven, we all know what it is to suffer from a metaphorical “thorn in the flesh.” Our problems compel us to rely on God.