Like many of my tenacious, long-suffering friends, I’m a Weeble. If you are young enough that you’ve never listened to an eight-track tape or watched ABC’s After School Specials on television, you probably don’t have a clue what I’m talking about- in which case I will explain. Weebles™, created by the Hasbro Company in the 1970’s, started out as small egg-shaped toys that were made to look like people. Because they were weighted on the bottom, you could push them over but they popped right back up. Just about every child growing up in that era knew that “Weebles™ wobble but they don’t fall down.”
I keep that little motto tucked somewhere in my repository of coping techniques for those times when I am unexpectedly knocked down by life. I occasionally face problems with bulldog tenacity and say, “It’s going to take a lot more than that to keep me down- I’m a Weeble!”
I’m not always that unbending though; sometimes I am a more of a feeble Weeble; I still manage to get back up, just not as quickly or as easily. During those times I have to consciously remind myself that although my burdens may have weighed me down, I can choose to let that work for me, not against me. In the same way that the heavily weighted portion of a Weeble toy allows it to spring back up, the same principle can apply to us human Weebles.
How so? Our suffering usually causes us to rely upon God even more; I have even seen self-proclaimed atheists cry out to God when the burden was too heavy. It is human nature to allow our exceedingly heavy afflictions, and our heavy hearts, to knock us down. In this condition, it is never easy to get back up. Nevertheless, when we put our trust in God and His promises, we begin to see things in a whole new light. We begin to realize that: …this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (2 Corinthians 4:17 NAS©1995).
Notice that it is eternal glory that is weighty (in a good way), not the affliction. The burden may knock us down for a short while, but understanding God’s incredible promises, like the one above, lightens our hearts. It is the contrast of this lightness in the midst of heaviness that gives all “feeble Weebles” the ability to spring back up.
Paul is in no way trying to minimize the crushing blows that we all face in our lives from time-to-time time. Rather, he is reminding us that our afflictions are really not as devastating as we first perceive them to be when compared to the glory of eternity. In fact, our afflictions serve ultimately for our benefit.
Peter explains this well:
These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. (I Peter 1:7 NLT©2007)