If last Monday’s events at the Boston Marathon reminded us of anything—it’s that we’re all susceptible to some form of attack or injury, be it physical, financial, emotional, relational, or spiritual. We all suffer wounds as we navigate through life.
To be vulnerable means we are susceptible. The Latin root for the word vulnerable is vulner[are] meaning, “to wound.”
When I get into my car to head home after posting this blog I will face vulnerability. I could be hurt, maimed, or killed in a senseless car accident on the way home. That’s my reality–my vulnerability. It may not be at the hands of a madman with a bomb or an airplane diverted into a building. Instead, my wound might be inflicted by a careless teenager texting while driving. Wounds inflicted through no fault of our own are devastating no matter how, when, where, what, or who the source is.
No one can predict the future with any kind of clarity. I want to see things coming at me so I can prepare and protect myself and those I love from them. But I haven’t been given that kind of clarifying vision.
We are vulnerable because we live in a hazardous and hostile world. And that’s a frightening thought.
But how will we choose to deal with our fear? Some of us may become hypervigilant, seeking to minimize or eliminate all danger. Others choose to deny that we’re vulnerable–creating the self-induced illusions of invincibility or false security. Or we learn to depend on Someone greater than ourselves who will help us face with courage and grace anything that threatens to harm us.
The writer of Psalm 56 was David. Israel’s beloved king knew firsthand what it was like to be vulnerable in the presence of his enemies. Later, when he remembered those terrorizing events, he penned these words: “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” (Psalm 56:3,4)
When I’m vulnerable, I need to remember that I’m not alone in my vulnerability. And neither are you. As God was with David, He is with us.