Posts Tagged ‘strength’

Like a rush-ian

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Past few weeks have been a whirlwind of change. Everything is moving at an accelerated pace. I have been struggling to juggle everything in my 24 hour day – husbandly duties, travel plans, house maintenance, studies, work and friends. Often something gets left behind, in this case, my studies and bible study. I am reminded of how limited I am and how big my God is. While I spend 6 to 8 hours a day absolutely immobile, asleep to the world and totally helpless. Our God needs no sleep (Psalm 121:3-4). While I have to put in effort to get anything done with only 2 hands (or 4 if you include my wife), God does everything with ease (Jeremiah 32:17). While I have to keep organised, juggle my time and energy to ensure that everything is kept in place, He holds everything in place just by being Him (Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3).

It is incredibly easy to lose sight of God when I get too busy, but God never allows it. My busyness only shows my need for more dependence on Him.

Trials of many kinds

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4

Yes, the bible does mention trials that come from sources other than persecution. I identify with Barne’s definition of a trial as “anything that will try the reality of religion”. Temptation, suffering, difficulty, troubles, hard decisions are all trials. We know trials from experience. No one in this life is so privilaged that he/she doesn’t experience trials in one form or another. Trials are just part of life. We get not just one kind of trial once, but we experience different kinds of trials many times over. In fact, we are promised trials and troubles and not because God is displeased with us but because life simply is full of them (John 16:33).

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
James 1:12

This verse speaks volumes when I remember what Doc John said many years ago, “The key to a successful christian life is… (pause for dramatic effect) perseverence”. The crown of life is not won because we got it easy or had a smooth ride. It is won by persevering through trials. Without a race, there will be no prize.

Some days will be easier, other days will be tough. We sail through our good times and persevere through the tough times, and when we look toward Christ, it is all worth it.

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, 
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage (our life is a pilgrimage, Genesis 47:9)
As they pass through the Valley of Baka (tears/weeping)
they make it a place of springs (older translation: wells)
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength, 
till each appears before God in Zion (our final destination of pilgrimage).
Psalm 84:5-7 (notes in italic are my own)

We read these verses often without taking note of the first verse. It doesn’t say “Blessed are those who have the strength to persevere” or “Blessed are those who draw strength from God” but it says “Blessed are those whose strength is in you“. In other words, we have no strength of our own. Our strength is in God.

Persevering might seem like a difficult thing. But the famous poem Footprints in the Sand reminds us that we often don’t even know it when God is making it easy for us.