When I was a tween (at least I think that’s what I was; we didn’t have that term in those days), I used to enjoy riding my bike. One day, I was riding on a paved trail that (I’m told) winds its way up to a promontory from which one can see for miles. This sounded like fun, and while I wasn’t sure I’d have time to go all the way to the top, I decided to check it out and see how far I could get with the resources I had. The trail was a big uphill climb, but there was an initial downhill that was not steep, but it was long, and, as I mentioned, this was paved. When I reached the bottom, it was flat for a short distance, and then the trail started going up. I was going pretty fast, and I resolved to do what I could to maintain my speed across the flat and let it carry me into the early stages of the coming ascent. So I stood on the pedals, shifted my weight, and went to pump downward with my right foot.
Maybe I misjudged my speed. Maybe my foot wasn’t firmly planted on the pedal. Maybe I hit a bump and dislodged myself. Whatever the case, as I was hurtling down the trail, I stepped down hard and my foot slipped off the pedal all the way to the ground. The combination of the forward momentum and the downward force tore multiple ligaments in my foot and ankle as a spectacular crash ensued. I only became aware of it as I found myself on hands and knees, with road rash spread over both and a dull ache basically everywhere. I didn’t move right away, but when I did, it became painfully clear that neither riding nor walking were going to be an option for me. I settled on a sort of bike-seat shuffle, supporting myself on my bike while I used my left foot to push off the ground. It was a slow trip back, but I got to my parents, who looked me over and discovered my right foot was swollen like a water balloon. A trip to the doctor’s office resulted in the application of a splint and the requirement that I go around on crutches for several days thereafter.
I needed a crutch. (Two of them, actually.) I have heard the statement that God is nothing but a crutch for people who are innately weak and incapable. While I want to take issue with it, I think fifth-grade Ben could help shed some light on it. When I hurt my foot, I was indeed weak. No amount of denying or pretending were going to change that. I literally needed a crutch. My body needed time to heal, and today, thanks to the medical intervention I received, my foot and ankle are now completely functional.
By the same token, today, thanks to the “crutch” of God’s work in my life, I am healed. No, I’m not perfect, but I am free of the penalty and the power of sin in my life. I am made whole, new, and complete in Him. Without that “crutch”, I would not be able to say any of those things. And, if God is a crutch, He is a crutch that will never break. Take a look at Psalm 147:4-5, quoted here from the ESV:
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; His understanding is beyond measure. The Lord lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked to the ground.
If you think me weak for needing this crutch, you are correct. The burden of my sin made me completely unable to save myself. And, because we each bear this burden, we each need this Crutch, this Savior.