I always get a kick out of when our boys flex their muscles.
The two of them, aged three years old and a year and a half, bring their arms close to their chest and let out this menacing growl while displaying a determined look on their face.
It is both hilarious and cute, really, but also very gratifying for me as their dad.
You see, when I was a youngster, you’d be hard pressed not to see me pose in a similar fashion each time someone would try to take my picture. So, I’m proud the custom is living on for another generation.
Hugh, the younger brother, likes to take matters one step further.
While playing in the basement, he will often ambitiously head over to where we keep our exercise equipment and, with both arms together, put all his might into lifting one of our 5-pound weights.
Watching him walk with the dumbbell, I observe carefully as Hugh grimaces and utters a few sounds of “oooh, oooh” while he carries the weight a few steps away.
Yes, they’re still so young and their bodies still understandably so frail, but our sons truly believe they are strong beyond measure.
And why shouldn’t they? After all, they’re children of God, made in the image and likeness of a perfect and omnipotent Creator.
In fact, sometimes when our eldest son Isaac flexes, I’ll ask him where he gets his strength.
His answer? “Jesus,” he’ll reply with no hesitation.
At church each week, Isaac will often remark our Lord on the cross and point out how Jesus has owies. So, after Mass, we’ll occasionally approach the altar to adore the crucifix.
There, I assure him that Christ is super strong and that His owies don’t hurt Him anymore. I’ll also remind him that Jesus gives him – and all of us – His strength so that we can heal from our injuries and bounce back each time we get hurt.
Certainly, I don’t set out to misguide our kids into thinking they can do anything too risky or irresponsible, and I’m not meaning to paint a picture here that I have our young children on some obscene workout regimen.
I do, however, want our children growing up knowing God is their supreme force and motivator, and that He will lead them to achieve all kinds of heights in their lives, strengthening them during times of trial and helping them overcome when facing obstacles.
But while little kids such as ours learn that with God, all things are possible (Mark 10:27), how many of us believe this teaching and apply it in our daily living?
St. Paul encourages us to draw our strength from Jesus, who enables us to do all good things (Philippians 4:13).
Yet, to whom do we turn when faced with adversity?
Do we soldier on confidently in prayer during the stressful times of studying for school final exams, or do we buckle under the pressure, in despair over our academic predicament?
If battling addiction, how many people turn to God for help in recovery, recognizing powerlessness and seeking assistance from a rehabilitation center, sponsor or support group?
In moments of feeling unworthy of an opportunity, do we call on Jesus to give us a boost?
When feeling anguished or exhausted going through life difficulties, how many people yield to God’s grace-filled presence to give them renewal or rejuvenation? (Isaiah 40:29-31)
In God, we can find refuge and strength (Psalm 46:1), pushing us past our hardships.
By laying His life for each one of us, Jesus promises He will see us through any bout of weakness or storm of suffering. (Isaiah 53:5)
With such a guarantee for His children, may we all flex our muscles unabashedly and pose for pictures with ease.