Please fail!

My primary job at Concordia is to lead students through weightlifting workouts so they become stronger and more powerful compared to when they began. One of my biggest pleasures occurs when students lift heavier weight, much heavier, than they previously did, especially when they did not think that they could do it.

There are many elements that contribute to how much stronger and powerful a student gets over the course of a semester, but one of those characteristics is found when students are not afraid of working so hard that they experience M.M.F., which is momentary muscle fatigue, or momentary failure. Through weeks of developmental sets of repetitions students find a yearning for a type of sadistic training that results in failure. I often say that I am the only teacher that begs his students to fail. A second important element occurs when failure is imminent and another student is present to help, or spot, the failing classmate finish the prescribed repetitions of the set.

I think that there is a parallel in this earthly experience of weightlifting that has a heavenly meaning. In 2 Corinthians beginning in the eleventh chapter Paul talks about boasting, for no gain, of the things that show his weakness. In the twelfth chapter Paul says that God responded to him after he asked Him to take away a messenger of Satan that was tormenting him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul’s response to God about his request was, “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.”

We often get swelled into the earthly notion that as Christians we will not experience earthly fatigue because of life’s heavy weight. Because of our sin we will experience momentary earthly fatigue! God is always present, not to take the weight of life out of our hands, but instead to give us the free gift of His strength for us to use during our lifetime, our set, our workout. 

Lord God, we thank you for the free gift of your immeasurable strength and power to help us through the sin filled lives that we weave for ourselves. Forgive us when we swell and boast about how strong we think we are because we’ve been conditioned to think that “we’ve got this” all by ourselves. We ask that the Holy Spirit work overtime in our hearts leading us to pray to you to be our one and only spotter so that when we are weak from the weight of life, we are actually strong in you. Amen.

Mark Koehlinger,
PE & Health Teacher