The last few days have been kind of hard. I haven’t had enough rest. Work has been too much like work. My throat doesn’t feel quite right. My plans for my time have imploded and collapsed like a giant building falls into a pile of rubble and a cloud of dust. I have found myself sitting tired and far from the place I had imagined myself a few days ago. I have uttered the prayer over and over again, “God give me strength.”
First of all, he probably already has given me strength. I just don’t know it yet.
2 Timothy 4:16 The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them. 17 But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear. And he rescued me from certain death.
I tend to pray for God to show up and do something. I tend to forget that the Lord stands with me. Not in some far away galaxy or dimension trying to hear my tiny voice among the millions of other tiny voices. I think my brain gets in my way here. I can’t be everywhere with everyone all the time so I assume that God is limited just like me. I live where I am but cannot seem to grasp the concept that God lives where I am going and is not limited by where I live.
Paul reminds me that even if no one else stands with me, God does. It is important to remind myself of this. God explains this to me over and over again in his Word. I forget over and over again in my brain. I need constant reminders. Since I forget this thing so often, maybe you do too, so today I am giving you this reminder; God stands with you.
God give me strength. For what? When I finally admit that my strength isn’t enough and that I need help, what am I doing? I am guilty of often just going into survival mode. I need strength just to make it through the day, just to get the bare minimum of things knocked out to make it to the bed at night, just to survive. If God gives me this kind of strength, what’s the point? I can probably survive this day most of the time on my own. I can be miserable and suffer through disappointment and frustration and come limping into the house and collapse in front of the TV without God doing much at all.
I really need to aim higher. God isn’t a God of helping me achieve mediocrity or something even less. He is a God that lifts me up.
2 Timothy 4:18 Yes, and the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into his heavenly Kingdom. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.
I have this guarantee and I still have the inclination to settle for second…or third…or fourth best. Has God called me to just make it through the day and be able to claim I survived?
Romans 8:37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
God’s promise is that we are more than conquerors. Overwhelming victory, not skin of the teeth survival or white-knuckle passing of the seconds mark my day. I believe that I must start to pray, not for strength to make it, but for a desire to hurdle challenges.
I’m not going to be the Superman of Christianity. But I need to stop looking at obstacles as something that has the remotest chance of defeating me. I may have to fight but I will certainly win. If I approach God and remember where he is at all times, I am tired at the end of the day from stomping on serpent’s heads and not from gasping for breath drowning in my own abilities. I’m not just shooting for keeping my head above water. I’m looking for opportunities to swim through it with a goal in mind.
Psalm 6:9 The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord will answer my prayer. 10 May all my enemies be disgraced and terrified. May they suddenly turn back in shame.
David writes this in the midst of great emotional pain. He isn’t asking God for strength to help him crawl back to where he once was. He is asking for God to clear the path ahead of his enemies. He is praying to a strong and mighty God. He is praying to the God that stands beside me. He is crying out to the God that hears and answers his prayers, the same God that hears and answers mine. Am I asking for enough? Am I praying to be able to merely survive the attack when I really should be praying that my enemies be disgraced and terrified and scattered like a bunch of insects when I spray a little ‘Raid’ on them?
It is time that I start grabbing hold of the power that is at my side and going on the attack and accomplishing something rather than being satisfied with limping through each day as a casualty of war.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.