Cam Pak

I am not weak anymore • 8 min read

You are not weak! You are strong

You are not weak! You are strong. Stand up tall, stand up tall, stand up tall! You are strong. 💪

This is the melody, a declaration, that came into my head after reading the story in Luke 13 of the woman bent over for 18 years who was healed from one touch from Jesus.

On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. (‭‭Luke‬ ‭13:10‭-‬13‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

Step into her shoes for a minute

Pausing to metaphorically become crippled for 18 years and not knowing why…

Year one. I'm starting to ache in my lower back. It just hurts!

Moving on... This back pain will not go away! It just gets worse and only feels a little better when I lean forward. I guess I'll do that at the expense of looking weird. Why can't doctors figure this out? Why is there no way to make the pain go away? I just want to turn to vices to cope, but dang I know that's not good for me. God, do you see me?

Years later… I cannot believe my lower spine fused together and I can't stand up straight. What will people think of me? I already felt like an outcast before this; I guess this is just my life. People ignore me. A pain that started out as invisible has now become overtly visible and now defines my life. I can't do what I used to do, and everything is harder, significantly harder, than before. I do the right things. I go to church. I try to practice what I hear from the Word. Why me? Why all this pain and aches? Why is there no one who can help me? I guess this is my life. I deserve this somehow…

After 18 years… Okay, it's time for church. It's so hard to even get out of bed, but I love God, so I will do it. No one sees the pain behind my eyes, but I can push through. Maybe today God will have grace on me…

Full of compassion, in comes Jesus…

"Hey, I see you. Come here." I hear from this gentle and powerful man named Jesus. The teacher wants me to come to him. He's the one who spoke with such conviction, connection, and authority. Of course. It hurts to move, but something about this man.

I achingly come to him.

"You are set free from your infirmity." he said. He touched me, and all I could feel was POP, CRACK, DO DO DO all up and down my back. It was warm and so relieving. And then I wasn't hurting anymore. Like no joke, the pain was all gone. And, I could even stand up tall! I was no longer bent over. I couldn't help but praise and jump up and down. I haven't done that in ages. I felt free like a kid, as if time reversed and I was free like I once was. That prison of weakness gone in one touch from Jesus.

Jesus, I don't know you, but I'll follow you wherever you go. I'll do whatever you want me to do. You saw me. You healed me. You showed me that I am not weak. No, I am strong!

Pause to consider that moment of freedom

For one minute, pause and reflect. You can set a timer if you'd like.

What did you feel emotionally? How does the story of that woman come more alive to you? Thank God for the strength and freedom He gives us.

Now, back to blog post

Let's hear that melody again.

You are not weak! You are strong. Stand up tall, stand up tall, stand up tall! You are strong. 💪

That story is deeply personal to me. Deeply, deeply personal. A few years ago, I had been diagnosed with spondylitis, an auto-immune disease that causes an arthritis go to all throughout my spine and can lead to vertebrae fusing over time. What that woman had was most likely ankylosing spondylitis, the worse version of what plagues me.

The TPT translation says "her condition was caused by a demonic spirit of bondage ('spirit of weakness')." A spirit of weakness. Weird! There's a few things that stand out to me. She didn't cause this illness. This illness was due to some open door where the enemy was able to oppress her. She believed she was weak. If she knew in her heart and lived out the strength God gives her, then a spirit of weakness could not oppress someone who was strong.

She believed she was weak. And honestly, most of my life I believed that about myself. No, even most honestly, I still struggle with that from time to time.

Why? How does someone get to believing they are weak?

No, I didn't wake up one day wanting to be weak

It happens over time. Traumas, in short. I consider the times in my life where I felt helpless and unseen. Those would contribute to feeling weak. I consider the times where it felt like I had no choice and just had to do what I was told. Yeah, that would contribute. I consider the times where I may have been bullied growing up, when there was strife in the house, or when I felt like I couldn't meet the expectations of loved ones around me. That would contribute.

Growing up, I did not feel enough. Call that middle kid syndrome; I don't care. I didn't feel like I could express my emotions, or even know how to express emotions. I just suppressed them. I had a ton of emotions as a kid and equally as much as an adult, and they're wonderful.

I just remember carrying all of this infirmity into college. At first it felt invisible. College was a new start, and I could be anyone I wanted to be. The possibilities were endless. New friendships, new town, new church, and new opportunities. Then as stresses and pressures from school arose, so did the infirmity. I felt like I just had to push, push, push through and then I'd be accepted or loved. So, I did. I worked hard; I'd say harder than most. I did everything I could to please people around me, and when I couldn't please them, I was distraught. I felt helpless. I felt alone, even when I was surrounded by people who loved me.

I carried that into marriage. I carried that into the workplace. I carried bondage that wasn't mine to carry.

Health issues came. Fears rose. The internal battle with feeling weak became my external reality.

Hey, I see you. You are set free from your infirmity

The woman didn't pray away her sickness, or the spirit of weakness. She didn't muster up enough self-induced strength to overcome it. She didn't do all the right things or please all the right people. No… she had an encounter with Jesus that changed everything. It was only at the source could she truly know who she was, and she was strong.

This isn't all a sob story. In fact, this happened so that the glory and power of God could be shown to the world.

There are so many key people in my life who were tangibly Jesus' love embodied. They took time to get to know me. I was encouraged to feel and express emotions. I was seen, even with all the mess of me, and just deeply loved. I wasn't rejected. I wasn't abandoned. I was embraced by the people and the love of Jesus. And, God is faithful to restore. He's been restoring relationships and healing old wounds because He values restoration.

I started to open up about this internal battle. I didn't feel like I was enough. And oh my gosh does that just start to fade away when you are loved and accepted. I started to go to counseling to open up about what's been going on inside. That helped. I started meeting up with a LifeGroup and with accountability partners who got to know the true Cam. That helped a ton. The grace of Hannah's love for me has been so healing. She knows me completely and loves me completely. That's been healing beyond words. I started to spend more time with God. He's been showing me how big His love is for me. He's even pointed out where I've believed in lies, such as "I am weak" or "I am not enough". "For God gave us not a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7)." He started to dismantle all of the junk I believed about myself and said, "you are my Son, who I love so much."

And while I await physical healing, I know it is not far. Jesus has already compassionately reached out his hand and said "You are set free from your infirmity." That's why I can stand up tall and praise God singing…

I am not weak! I am strong. Stand up tall, stand up tall, stand up tall! I am strong. 💪

I speak my story, because I know I'm not alone. I speak my story, because God wants to heal and restore others.

— from Cam Pak, someone who is stronger than he knows