Real true faith is man’s weakness leaning on God’s strength.
—D. L. Moody
Sing for JOY to God our strength;
shout JOYFULLY to the God of Jacob.
I’m not in a wheelchair. I’m not on chemo. I’ve ended up in the hospital only two times, for brief outpatient visits. To see me, you’d assume I’m the picture of perfect health. But underneath this strong exterior lies deep weakness.
By Brian Biggers
And He said to me,
“My grace is sufficient for you,
for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
—2 Corinthians 12:9
This is one of the greatest mysteries in the Kingdom; that God will never allow His power to rest on human strength or ability, only on human weakness. It goes completely contrary to rational thinking.
All our lives we’ve been taught ‘do your best and God will do the rest’ or ‘God helps those who help themselves’. The reality of Scripture is that He waits until I’m completely hopeless before He steps in and does for me what I can’t do. When in lifeguard training we were taught that when someone was drowning we were to swim to where they were but not to attempt to help them as long as they were still struggling. If you did they would drown both of you. Wait until they had no more energy and were going under, then you can reach in and save them. I don’t need Him to help “me” do anything, since “apart from ME you can do nothing”. A life that will experience the power and presence of God’s Spirit being in me and through me what I could never be begins not with trying to do His will, but by bending my knee in His presence and humbly confessing my total inability to do anything without Him. This is the place in His Divine mystery that His power will meet me in my weakness and I will find that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.
6 Blessed be the Lord,
Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!
7 The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly REJOICES,
And with my song I will praise Him.
8 The Lord is their strength,
And He is the saving refuge of His anointed.
9 Save Your people,
And bless Your inheritance;
Shepherd them also,
And bear them up forever.
If my days were untroubled and my heart always light,
Would I seek that fair land where there is no night?
If I never grew weary with the weight of my load,
Would I seek for God’s peace at the end of the road?
If I never knew sickness and never felt pain,
Would I search for a hand to help and sustain?
If I walked without sorrow and lived without loss
Would my soul seek solace at the foot of the cross?
If all I desired was mine day by day,
Would I kneel before God and earnestly pray?
If God sent no winter to freeze me with fear,
Would I yearn for the warmth of spring every year?
I ask myself these and the answer is plain,
If my life were pleasure and I never knew pain –
I’d seek God less often and need Him much less,
For God is sought more often in times of distress.
And no one knows God or sees Him as plain –
As those who have met Him on the “Pathway of Pain.”
Author: Helen Steiner Rice
I will sing of your strength,
in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
my refuge in times of trouble.
By Patricia Knight
Autumn in Maine is brilliant with the leaves of deciduous trees turning all shades of red, yellow, orange, and brown. Those hues combined with the deep greens of the softwoods create a fabulous scenic panorama.
I had just noticed the leaves beginning to turn their pretty shades last week, anticipating more lustrous color developing each day. However, in the interim, our area sustained high winds and pounding rains. Many of the leaves that potentially could have turned dazzling colors have now been pummeled to the ground.
After assessing the damage, I discovered most of the remaining flower stalks in our garden were snapped off or bent over onto the ground. Single leaves, pine needles, and whole branches of trees created a disparate carpet on the land. I was bemoaning the devastated landscape when my eyes spotted the soft shades of a single Peace rose amidst the visual commotion. It was gently swaying in the soft morning breeze. Throughout the storm, that unprotected, delicate rose had stood stalwart, yet flexible, against the prevailing winds.
How resilient are we amid the storms of life? When we are battered by disappointments and despair, do we turn to God for strength? When illness disarms us, exposing physical restrictions, and emotional adversity intimidates our otherwise strong faith, are we able to remain vigorous and unflinching?
God commands that we depend upon His mighty strength when weakness threatens to conquer us. Imagine! We can access the power of the mightiest force of the entire universe. “God is our refuge and strength,an ever present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). With God as our stronghold, we emerge victorious. “I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble” (Psalm 59:16).
Elijah is one of the great heroes in God’s Word. He stood alone against hundreds of the prophets of the false god, Baal, while God displayed His mighty, awesome power.
Elijah alone was victorious for his Lord. But, then, just as fast as he rejoiced in the victory, Elijah was frightened and humiliated by the one most powerful, yet blatantly wicked woman of that era. Queen Jezebel had announced that Elijah would die. He ran for his life. When weakened, he slumped under a tree requesting that God take his life. He progressed from victory to defeat in a few short hours. Elijah could teach a basic course on sudden fright and ineffectual reactions to it.
How tenacious was Elijah’s faith when he was no longer in control? He was so subdued by a human threat that he forgot the Source of his power and strength. Elijah was admittedly exhausted and that is what God recognized. Rather than discipline him for his lack of faith, God ministered to him by sending an angel to feed him, allowing him some sound sleep, and introducing him to Elisha, a companion and future helper in his work. God understands even when we falter. “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall” (Psalm 55:22). What a promise!
Though Elijah could only focus on the threats to his life when he was fatigued, there came a time when he awakened to the sight of a lovely rose blooming in the desert. That flower was the Rose of Sharon, the Lord Himself. He spoke to Elijah personally and audibly, in a gentle whisper. Elijah was physically and emotionally restored as God empowered him to continue the important work He had assigned him.
Let us remain steadfast in our faith so that when threats assail us, we will recognize and call to the Source of our help.
“My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2).