“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
“…My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness…” 2 Cor. 12:9
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” Ephesians 6:10
“Just pull yourself up my your bootstraps,” my beloved Mom told me years ago. “Shape up or ship out,” she told me another time. This was what she called her dime-store psychology, her loving attempt to deal with a daughter who was constantly falling apart at the seams. Whether I was broken over yet another failed relationship, telling her I was an alcoholic, taking up residence for five weeks at a hospital eating disorders unit, Mom would tell me in one way or another to shape up and BE STRONG! My Mom is one of the most loving people I’ve ever met on this earth. With every fiber of her being, she meant well. But little did she know, or did I know, or does so much of this world comprehend, about being strong when our lives are falling apart. Be strong! You can do it! Muster up the strength! Don’t be a weakling! You have the strength to overcome this! How often have we heard this? How often have we said this to others? How often have we miserably failed in being strong in our tough circumstances or in telling someone what he or she really needs to hear?
How blessed I was one day when I opened my mailbox to find a beloved friend’s latest donation and his usual yellow sticky note attached with the latest verse God had placed on his heart for me. I was feeling especially sad that day about some hard stuff – and weak. And right on that little piece of paper was the reminder of what we all need to hear when it comes to our challenges. God wants us to be strong IN HIM. HE wants to be strong IN US. He wants us to find strength IN HIM. He wants us to depend on HIM to be strong. It is in our very weakness, when we humbly admit we are nothing without Him, that He can be glorified in us.
The world has it backwards. We humans believe we need to be strong. But it is only when we admit to our weakness, when we humble ourselves before the Lord, when we place our trust in Christ instead of placing our trust in ourselves, in others, and in the stuff of this world, that we can lean back on God’s everlasting arms, rest in the refuge of Christ, relax in the everlasting hold of the Lord, hide in the secret place that is Christ as He protects us from the harsh, brutal storms around us, and rejoice that God offers us the greatest strength in the universe through faith in Christ. HIS own strength.
BE STRONG, my friend – in Christ! In the Lord! Forever!