Pretty yellow flower at the Dallas Arboretum, Dallas, TX

God’s strength is enough

If you’ve been following this blog for any amount of time, you know that I hate waiting. I’m a doer, a performance-driven perfectionist, and I don’t like having to wait on anything, especially if it’s something I can do myself. But I’ve walked with God long enough to know that I can’t do everything, even though I often feel responsible for it anyway. And no matter how much I learn about following Christ, I still try to carry everyone else’s burdens on my own shoulders. If you’re that kind of person too, you know how exhausting it is, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. We weren’t made to carry such heavy loads, but we try anyway.

Pretty yellow flower at the Dallas Arboretum, Dallas, TX

Pretty yellow flower at the Dallas Arboretum, Dallas, TX

Today’s verse is Isaiah 33:2.

But Lord, be merciful to us,
    for we have waited for you.
Be our strong arm each day
    and our salvation in times of trouble.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m tired. I’m already worn out, and the craziness that is the fall season hasn’t even started yet. Life is only going to get busier as the year spirals rapidly toward its conclusion, and as wild as the first three quarters of the year have been, I’m just moving forward with the assumption that the last quarter will be wilder. It usually is.

The ironic part is that most of the things that are wearing me down are things I have no control over. Why is that? Why is it that the things that sap the most of our strength are the things we can’t change or the things we can’t fix?

This post isn’t deep or revolutionary this morning. It’s probably not even going to be very long. I’m too tired for that. But I ran across this verse this morning, and I remembered something I already knew: God’s strength is enough.

How obvious is that? Why do we always forget the obvious things? I forget the obvious and stress over the the problems I can’t fix. That’s my human experience in a nutshell. But that’s not the way a Christ-follower is supposed to live. It’s not weakness to rely on God’s strength and His help; it’s what He expects.

We were never meant to struggle through life on our own, carrying our own burdens, carrying other people’s burdens, weary and worn out. We’re supposed to give our burdens to Him. God is meant to be our strength and our salvation when we hit those hard moments in life, when we cross those low valleys where it’s too dark to see and we’re too tired to walk any further. We’re not a disappointment when we lean on His strength; that’s what He wants. That’s what He’s there for. And His strength is greater than ours is any day.

So when you encounter those moments, don’t be afraid to draw on God’s strength. Ideally, if you can lean on God’s strength before your own wears out, you might get through the low points in life without being so exhausted. That’s my problem. I exhaust myself utterly before I start letting God take care of things, but I don’t think that’s the way we’re supposed to live. God is walking with us. He’s in our lives every moment, and He’s there waiting for us to let go of our pride and ask for His help.

We don’t need to be weary. We don’t need to reach the breaking point before we ask for Him to help us. Fortunately, He restores the weary and gives new strength to the weak. I’m counting on that as I forge ahead into the highs and lows that are coming. But I’m praying that I remember this time that I don’t need to hit the bottom before I ask for His help. I can walk into trouble with His strength instead of my own, and His strength doesn’t run out.

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Red rocks at Glen Eyrie - Colorado Springs, CO

Trusting God enough to accept His help

Do you ever get to that point in life where you just feel stuck? You’ve waited and waited for God to give you permission to move on to something else, and He isn’t saying anything. Or you feel trapped on a ledge that’s too steep to climb down and too treacherous to climb up?

Red rocks at Glen Eyrie - Colorado Springs, CO

Red rocks at Glen Eyrie – Colorado Springs, CO

Today’s verse is Isaiah 33:2.

But Lord, be merciful to us,
    for we have waited for you.
Be our strong arm each day
    and our salvation in times of trouble.

I don’t do much mountain climbing. I have asthma, and I’m generally uncoordinated. Combine both of those qualities, and hiking up a mountain trail is probably not a wise place for me to be. But while I and my friends were at Glen Eyrie over Memorial Day, I had planned to do a little mountain hike. Nothing big or scary. Just enough to get some more photos and see some beautiful things.

Well, that morning I started feeling pretty bad, so I bowed out. I was really disappointed, but I made the most of it and got some writing done. And my friends (who are more athletic than I am) were able to go on a little bit more challenging mountain hike. I wouldn’t have gone had I been with them … because I would have died. End of story.

They came back with some pretty amazing stories, though, including some fairly spectacular feats of agility. But there was one part of their climb where they were missing some much-needed upper body strength. My best friend told me later that the last time they’d gone on the hike, they’d had their brother with them, who was able to haul them up over cliff ledges and such when they weren’t strong enough. But on this climb, it was just the three girls.

Fortunately, there was a guy at the place where they needed help, and he pulled them up when they weren’t strong enough to climb up on their own.

When the Bible talks about God being our strong arm, that’s what I think about. He’s the man waiting on the mountain ledge, holding out a hand to help us climb over an obstacle that’s too much for us. The only trouble is, we have to trust Him enough to take His hand when He offers it.

I met this Good Samaritan mountain climbing gentleman before we left Glen Eyrie, and he looked pretty slight. Not that any of my friends are big, it’s just I would have doubted that he had the strength to hoist them up over a mountain ledge.

I think we do that to God sometimes. He’s right there, offering His help, and we hesitate because we don’t trust that He can support our weight. We don’t trust that He’ll catch us if we fall. We don’t trust that He’s stronger than He seems. So we stay on the cliff, frightened and discouraged because we can’t make any forward progress. And we ask God why He put us in such a helpless position. When the whole time, He’s standing right in front of us, trying to help us.

I am constantly trying to find the balance between waiting for God to work and taking the initiative to move ahead. Sometimes we’re supposed to wait. Sometimes we need to stay put and let God do what only He can do. But other times, we need to start climbing and stop waiting. But the one thing we should never do is move forward without holding on to Him.

So if you’re stuck on a proverbial mountain cliff this morning, even though it’s difficult, try not to feel sorry for yourself and start looking for God. Because I guarantee that He’s close at hand offering a way to climb higher. You just have to trust Him enough to take His hand.

And if you’re focused on Him completely and He’s not offering help yet, wait. That just means you have a few more moments to enjoy the view.