Most of us think that we could never relate to Samson. Who among us has ever been given the gift of super-strength? We picture him with big, rippling muscles that we are never going to see in our mirror, and it's easy to skip right by that story and think, certainly, that is not what God is doing in our life.
But I think we need to look more closely at Samson's story. Because there's something important that we're missing.
Samson's story is not about his physical strength. No matter what you might have been taught about him, that's not the secret of his story; it's not even the heart of it. Samson's story is about God's strength in him, and that's something that we, as believers, ought to be able to relate to.
Look at what happens in Judges 16. Over and over and over again, Samson finds himself in situations that would render anyone vulnerable. First, he's in love, and his love leads him to do some dumb things (like entertaining his wife's idea of wanting to discover the secret of his strength, even after she proves she only wants to use that information to disable him). Second, he finds himself bound over and over again, wrapped up tight, totally strung up.
And it is here when God's strength begins to work through him.
Think about this for a second. If you were to walk in a room and see a man bound up in ropes, you'd think he probably isn't going to put up much of a fight. He's already defeated, so it seems. Then, BAM - the strength of the Lord comes upon him and all of a sudden, you lose.
This is the story of so many believers around the world and across time. In fact, it's kind of a hallmark of who we are. Think about all of the persons of faith you have known who have seemed defeated in their lives - poverty, illness, cancer, abuse, divorce, addiction, misfortune. The list goes on and on. Almost every single one of us has our story.
At just the moment when it all seems over, when the enemy walks in the room and starts to laugh because we are so clearly defeated, BAM - the strength of the Lord comes upon us and all of a sudden, darkness loses to light.
I'm not saying that we win every battle. Of course, we don't. But sometimes, we win even when we're losing.
I just can't help but recognize all of the amazing witnesses to Christian faith whose stories we hear all the time - the cancer patient whose faith changes the staff of the oncology ward; the amputee who inspires others to get off the couch; the addict whose clean life leads dozens of others down a new road. Our greatest testimonies - and God's greatest glory - often come from the moments when it seems so obvious how vulnerable we are, we we already look defeated.