This is the fifteenth day of the Love Blog Challenge
hosted by the lovely BelleBrita
Prompt for 2/21: Strength
We witness and rely on strength every day … in our bodies, in our relationships, in our devotion to marriage and family, in our commitment to social justice and community. In each of these areas, strength can be unwavering, powerful, and consistent. But what about faith?
How is strong faith different than any other kind of strength?
The strength of our bodies, our relationships, our devotion, and our commitments is a direct result of our personal choices. Bodies will never be strong without a healthy diet and consistent exercise and training. Our relationships and our devotion to others – both friends and family – are built and strengthened only when we choose to invest in them and make room to allow them to grow and flourish. We choose carefully to which issues we will devote time and energy, choices made by how we are wired and for what we feel passion.
We are in charge of how strong we are and how strong we remain in all of those earthly relationships and causes.
But when it comes to faith, God does a lot, if not most, of the heavy lifting, especially when everything seems to be leading us toward loss and defeat. Psalm 43 says,
Rescue me from those who are deceitful and wicked.
You are God my stronghold.
Why have you rejected me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?
Send me your light and your faithful care,
let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you dwell.
Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.
The Psalmist is rejected, mourning, oppressed. He asks Why are You rejecting me? Why do You let the enemy have its way? (The Biblical version of Good golly, Miss Molly?)
In fact, the book of Psalms overflows with words of despair and doubt, just like this. David and the other song writers and poets memorialized their anger and accusations in the Book that has been read for centuries. And God made sure those harsh words were there for all to see – because He can take it. He is strong enough to keep us strong even when we blame Him. Even when we feel so frail we cannot help ourselves.
My faith in the love and promises of God, my faith in salvation through Jesus, my faith in times of faithlessness are never just about the strength I can muster on my own.
The strength of my faith has and will always be broadened and deepened because God can make me stronger. It’s not just that I feel better when I’m in a good place, or that, when I’m going through something rough, I can feel His presence.
No, my lovelies, it’s not that I feel stronger because of what He does for me, what I observe, or how my circumstances change.
It is true that my feelings for Tim grow stronger each time he reads my mind when I least expect it, when he sacrifices for me without question, and when he goes out of his way to make things better.
But Tim, in and of himself, cannot create stronger feelings in me no matter how hard he works. That’s a decision I make. My feelings may be influenced by him, but he cannot miraculously change them by what he does.
With God, though, it is a miracle. I’m stronger and my faith is stronger because He makes me stronger… because of who He is.
I am your God; I will strengthen you. (Isaiah 41:10)
God gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might, He increases strength. (Isaiah 40:29)
The Lord is my strength and my song. (Exodus 15:2)
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power… (2 Timothy 1:7)
I grew up born-again. It wasn’t a matter of if I would become a Christian – just when. No crisis of faith or even a prolonged era of walking away. I’ve gone through the meh times when I was remarkably luke warm but never really lost my belief.
But during those times of heartache, when the world seemed to crash in and there was not one ding-dang thing I could do to make it better, I leaned on God for strength and hope, because when we are weak, He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me. This I know.