July 8, 2012

Strength from God

Perhaps it is the fatigue of moving. Perhaps it is the summer doldrums that hit after the end of teaching classes and more often being involved with people. Whatever the reasons, my battle with discouragement seems endless. No matter how well the days go, I wake in the morning feeling weak and useless.
Today’s verse is a promise from God to His people. It uses the word “bars” which can mean the strap of a sandal or the protection of literal bars. The rest of it is God’s guarantee to give strength for each day.
Your bars shall be iron and bronze, and as your days, so shall your strength be. (Deuteronomy 33:25)
I went online for a sermon or something concerning this verse. I found one that talks about the need of Christians to realize our weakness before we can see the preciousness of God’s strength. The preacher mentions the obvious occasions where my weakness shows up, such as in failure and suffering. However, he also puts a finger on one thing not so obvious — progress.

As God’s people try to grow in grace and manage a bit of progress, we will find ourselves struggling to take one step forward and then easily taking a great many steps backward. It is to this daily battle that God makes this encouraging promise. 

Some days are full of sorrow when I must sit alone under God’s hand, yet the strength promised is not mere endurance. Whenever the trials of life draw out that “I’ve gotten used to it” attitude, I miss out on any increased capacity for action, comfort, or hope. Instead, the strength God promises will take the edge off calamities and even make me more than a conqueror over them. God wants me to have the kind of strength that not only enables me to endure but also builds my Christian character, just as the New Testament says…
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11–13)
God’s promise for daily strength is only as good as the One who made it has the ability to deliver. People make promises and may not keep them. For that disappointment, I must deal with a trust issue. But God always keeps His promises, even if up front it seems and feels as if it will not happen. His faithfulness does not depend on mine. Even when I have little faith or hope, God remains true to His Word.

Right now, the day seems normal, but Charles Spurgeon says that every house has a trouble factory. This is true. Even when life goes well, I know it will not stay that way. Trouble is coming, if not today, it will rear its ugly head. But Jesus looks at trouble then looks my way and says fear not. He uses trouble to teach me to rely on Him moment by moment.

In the past, I’ve asked for strength for the week, or for a task. Yet, God does not promise annual strength, monthly strength, or even weekly strength. One writer says he is glad about that because some trial or trouble may be great and he might use his monthly allowance on it and not be able to wait until next month for a fresh supply!

God is wise. His supply is according to my need, and it doesn’t run out as long as I live. Whatever the trials and as long as they come, I will have Sunday strength, Monday strength, Tuesday strength and so on until the day I am with Him in eternity.

Lord, this is timely. Forgive me for taking Your strength for granted and neglecting to ask for it every day, even more often, every moment. Life has been demanding and beyond my capacity. But nothing is too hard for You. For whatever is needed today, grant me all that I need to meet the challenges.

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