Driving to drop the kids off for school while still in your pajamas, you glance at the backseat after they exit and realize two of them have forgotten their lunches. Weighing the pros and cons of running into the school, you see little neighbor, Billy and hand him the lunches in hopes they make it to your kids. You run home, get dressed and slap on some makeup (guys, bear with me here) and don your high heels while listening to "Good Morning America." Or possibly you are a stay-at- home working woman and you begin the canning while doing the laundry and washing the dishes etc. ... all the things that must be done again day after day, after day.
Guys, your day may go much the same, except for the makeup and high heels thing. You may climb up on that log truck, put on that mining hat or grab that briefcase, and you do it day after day, after day.
Maybe you are a retiree and wonder how on earth you got all this stuff done before you were retired. Others, whether working or not, may abhor the sameness of the days. And still others may feel that their lot in life is so uphill that they can barely make it and wonder how they will continue to put one foot in front of the other. Possibly, you are a shut-in and you feel life has left you behind; or maybe you are among our precious folks who know their time is short due to an illness or injury and cannot even imagine strength for another day.
Rising this morning during the quiet hour before the kids got up, I began thinking about this very subject: Strength. I began thinking about what it is, where it comes from and how to get it. Webster's Dictionary definition of strength is: The quality or state of being strong; capacity for exertion or endurance, or the power to resist force or power of resisting attack. A thesaurus points us to the words stamina and power.
There are days in all our lives that we need extra strength, fortitude and endurance for some big job, trial, situation or task ahead of us. But it seems that the daily grind of continuing "as is" and living day by day also requires a persistence and fortitude that most of us find difficult and challenging.
While living in the country (we're talking boonies) for many years, we often lost power when floods or high winds came. It was such a frequent thing so we bought and installed a generator.
I nicknamed it "Sweet Thing." I loved it, even though it roared with noise. We were finally able to use some power for the essentials like television and computer. Actually, you could run those, but you had to choose your power drains. (Some of you will remember the TV show "Green Acres" and know what I am talking about.) That generator lasted a long time and made life more bearable under trying circumstances.
It is the same with life. We must be plugged into the power source if we are to have the strength and stamina to face life and not only get by, but to face life with joy and hope.
When my strength begins to fail, I am reminded of one of my favorite verses: "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint" (Isaiah 40:31).
If you are like me, when I begin to feel weary and lack strength, I tend to want to get busy and "do" something. However, I often hear a still, small voice that whispers, "Be still and know that I am God." It is not action I need, but rather a connection with the power source.
Interestingly, when I remember this truth, I have strength to do far more than I know I could do otherwise. This connection comes through prayer and meditation on scripture. I am often asked how I can bear being a counselor. Dealing with people's problems on a daily basis reminds me of my own inadequacies and lack of wisdom. But when I am still and remember that he is my power source, I know that it is him and not me. And what most do not know is that I not only bear my job, but I love my job.
It is the same with you, my friend. The sameness of the day, the trial of the hour, the crisis of the moment, may be met with grace and strength when you remember that all the power of heaven is at your disposal. I have met many people who worry about the dying process.
My friend, what you do not realize is that you do not have the grace to die, because it is not time for you to die. When you know Christ, and it comes your time to die, you will have dying grace. What you have now is living grace. I have no doubt that when it comes my time to die, I will have dying grace. I have seen it many times. It is a precious and sacred thing.
Opening my "Streams in the Desert" devotional this morning while pondering the idea of strength for living, my eyes fell upon this story:
"The day closed with heavy showers. The plants in my garden were beaten down before the pelting storm, and I saw one flower that I had admired for its beauty and loved for its fragrance exposed to the pitiless storm. The flower fell, shut up its petals, dropped its head; and I saw that all its glory was gone.
"'I must wait till next year,' I said, 'Before I see that beautiful thing again.'
"That night passed, and morning came; the sun shone again, and the morning brought strength to the flower. The light looked at it, and flower looked at the light. There was contact and communion, and power passed into the flower. It held up its head, opened its petals, regained its glory, and seemed fairer than before. I wonder how it took place - this feeble thing coming into contact with the strong thing, and gaining strength."
I cannot tell how it is that I should be able to receive into my being a power to do and to bear by communion with God, but I know it is a fact.
Are you in peril through some crushing, heavy trial? Seek this communion with Christ, and you will receive strength and be able to conquer.
"I will strengthen thee."
They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn and grow as the vine. (Hos. 14:7).
(Kimberly Short Wolfe, MA, is a homeschool mom and the counselor/chaplain with Cornerstone Christian Counseling Center. firstname.lastname@example.org)