Blow Your Lid

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
• Isaiah 40:29

When we were kids, the most fun, entertaining, and shocking experiment in the world involved taking two-liter bottles of soda, shaking them, then watching in amazement as their caps were unsealed and they were opened.

There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to the madness that followed. It just… happened. Like magic.

Once, my mother enlisted my help in unloading groceries from our grandfather’s car and stocking them inside his refrigerator. On the trek between that old Monte Carlo and his mothball-scented kitchen, I could not resist the urge to shake the plastic bottle of Pepsi I was carrying.

What I did not anticipate was just how thirsty my awaiting grandfather was.

As he opened the two liter, fizz and foam spewed and seeped all over that wallpapered kitchen.

As he swore under his breath and blamed the grocery store, my eyes widened and I thought to myself: “Magic.”

I have often thought back to that day during the most intense circumstances of my own life.

Sometimes it feels like Life beats us down. Like the trek between the cradle and the grave is filled with bumps, shakes, and bruises. Like I am that two liter of Pepsi and Life is toying with me, playfully waiting to see how long it will take me to blow my lid.

Ever been there?

There is a promise in Scripture that should change the way we look at our bumps, shakes, and bruises.

Followers of Jesus have been sealed in the presence of His Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God, whose presence raised Lazarus back to life, whose presence raised Jesus back to life, whose delivery was prayed for by Jesus Himself and marked iconically with the rushing of wind, the sound of thunder, and the appearance of flaming tongues resting on heads, is an untapped and inexhaustible resource available to His Bride.

Sometimes we ignore and forfeit His availability.

What if the bumps, shakes, and bruises in our lives are there to remind us? What if the intention is exactly what mine was as that six year old kid with a two liter of Pepsi? What if God allows us to come to our wit’s end, so that we can blow our lids?

What if He is trying to empty us of ourselves, so that He can fill us with something better?

You cannot fill a sealed two liter of Pepsi. It first must be emptied.

The same is true of you.

What are you trying to do in your own strength right now? Can you allow His strength to be made perfect once yours is gone?

As Isaiah prophesies, He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. But only once we allow ourselves to be emptied.

Is He emptying you? Are you stubbornly fighting what He is doing?

Can you just give in and admit defeat? Then let Him fill you as a result?

One of the first things lifeguards are trained to do in an emergency situation is assess the condition of a drowning victim. If a person is drowning, often they become violent and, in their desperation, they can put the lifeguard’s life at risk. Lifeguards are trained to wait until the flailing stops, until the lashing out and desperation ceases, and until death seems inevitable. Then, once the victim throws in the towel, once he or she succumbs to the gravity of the situation and gives into the subsequent exhaustion, then and only then can she sweep in and save that life.

Is it time for you to throw in the towel?

The Christian life is one marked by surrender.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, 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.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

Amen.

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