Finding Strength

“I can manage this. I’ll do it myself.” How many times a day do we say this? Maybe it’s the housework, a difficult work situation, or a grumpy child. Or it could be a diagnosis, a painful conversation, or conflict with your spouse. Whatever it is, you might be in over your head. We depend on ourselves, on our will and our flesh to get us through the most difficult situations, even though as Christians, we have the most powerful One on our sides. We struggle under these burdens, forgetting that God wants us to give our cares to Him (1 Peter 5:7). I think of a child grabbing a bunch of items, too heavy for him, stubbornly saying, “I’ll do it myself!” Likely, the child will drop the objects and maybe even cause some damage along the way.  How often do we act like this about our own problems? When can we stop and get help from God?

Before the trouble starts. It can keep us out of trouble made by our own hand. Spend time with God each day, and that will help to remind you of His presence and your desire to please Him. (Psalm 143:8)

In the midst of trouble. When you can barely eke out a “help me, God”, call out to Him. Peter took a step of faith when he got out of the boat. But then he began to doubt and started to sink. “Lord, save me!” he cried. (Matthew 14:30) Jesus didn’t ask for a fancy prayer, or a prayer of a certain length. He answered Peter’s short and earnest prayer. Psalm 116:1-2 NLT says, “I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!”

And when you are in over your head, and you think it’s too late. You may think that God will just tell you, “I told you so. It’s too late. Leave me alone.” Not true! God loves us so much, and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is so sufficient, that it is never too late. Think of the compassion that God gave to Nineveh, which He had sent Jonah to warn them about their wicked ways! Yet Jonah thinks the compassion is too much (Jonah 4:1). Whether you have others or just yourself telling you that you’ve gone too far, God can bring you back if you turn away from sin and turn to Him! God is “a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.” (Jonah 4:2).

So then, how does God help us? He can remove the circumstances that are troubling us. Or He can help us through them, in a variety of ways. He can bring you a knowledge of His presence in your life. Perhaps He will show you how this is bringing out the qualities in you that He wanted to grow. Or  He could bring a friend, family member, counselor, or complete stranger to encourage you. Or maybe, minute by minute, He will grow your faith, so that even in this hard time, when you can’t “feel” Him, you know that He is there and you trust Him for His plan in your life.

Father, we love you, and we ask you to help us to realize that You are the One on whom we can depend. Amen.

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