Prior to birth, his mother had settled into a life of childlessness, her sterility a popular topic of conversation among the locals. She and her husband had become accustomed to their quiet existence. The days and years clicked by with calm consistency.
Until one day.
An angel shows up. Announces to her that she will conceive. Admonishes her to give up that late afternoon glass of wine. Asks her to get used to long hair on a boy, because that's going to be part of the deal.
What the angel foretells happens. A baby boy is born. He grows, and he grows some more. He takes down a lion barehanded. Engages an enemy nation. He is a brawler – a brawny, singular specimen of a man. By power of might and mind, he begins to bring the Philistine nation to its knees.
But that amazing strength has its fragile places. He doesn't withhold much from his muscular body when it comes to women. And he doesn't withhold much from his muscular will when it comes to emotion. He's angry, arrogant, and amorous. His enemies become more strategic. They barter with his latest girlfriend, anxious to subvert his curious threads of strength. She needles him, begs him, wheedles him to reveal his secret. He tells her new ropes will bind him. They snap like threads. He tells her to weave his hair into a loom, the seven braids of his hair rendered into a fabric piece. It's all a ruse. All it takes is a razor to scrape away the threads of his vow, his Nazarite tresses of uncut hair, to return him to a point of origin, a creature dependent on God. It is there that he finds his true strength.
Samson, eyes now gouged out by his enemies and strength now fully given over to God, took out more of Israel's enemies broken than he did whole.
A dropped stitch.
A greater purpose.
Moses had a speech impediment – and he became the voice of a nation.
Abraham was infertile – and he became the father of nations.
David's curious threads of strong passion led to his greatest fall – yet that thread was also the mainstay of his passion for God.
Samson's great strand of strength began the deliverance of Israel from the hand of the Philistines – but only after his dependence on God was established through weakness.
Paul had trouble with his eyes – and he became the vision caster for the redemption of the Gentiles as well as the catalyst for worldwide missions.
Curiously, in Kingdom parenting, God often chooses to use the thing we think is frailest to reveal purpose and His great strength.
Some might say that my daughter Maesyn's fragility is that she's hearing impaired. I say it's a God strength, that miraculous place where He takes what the world classifies as not enough and reconfigures it in His power. Because Maesyn has hearing loss, she needs to listen carefully, intentionally. And so her strength is that she's a powerful listener. People naturally gravitate toward her because she listens so intently. She's also a remarkably bold speaker of truth – possibly the strongest evangelist of our tribe, always at the ready to discuss faith and her relationship with the Lord. She's had to labor to acquire words, to master language, and so she's all the more potent in her communication.
As British missionary to China James Hudson Taylor wrote, "All God's giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on God being with them."