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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Strong because...

Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. (Psalm 73:25-26 NLT)
Strength can be measured in many different ways. There are entire agencies dedicated to looking at the strength of vehicles to withstand the impact of crushing collisions and terrifying roll-over accidents. The trash bag manufacturers all get in on the development of the most "expandable" bag that will withstand the load of our daily household discard. Football players vie for the media spotlight exhibiting their strength on the field as they faced tremendous opposing force. We even see toilet paper companies jumping on the band-wagon to declare their product strong, while able to provide "cushiony comfort". Some of the most profound examples of strength I have observed are not always found in the places or things we might have expected, though! Sometimes there is more strength exhibited in a moment of forgiveness where it is least deserved, or a season of enduring untold attacks without wavering in one's faith!
Strength speaks of capacity - the capacity to endure - to exert an equal or greater capacity than someone or something else. It involves a power to resist force - even when that force is proportionally larger than what your strength appears to be at that moment. It also involves an ability to resist attack - even when the attack is not always fully recognizable or totally anticipated. One might think strength of character begins with attitude - get the right attitude and you will be able to endure anything. I am here to tell you attitude alone doesn't work! I have started out with very positive attitudes at times, only to have those "feelings" of commitment or "positivity" fly right out the window when pressed just a little bit too far!
Strength comes to many because of great struggle - the more they grapple with an issue, the stronger they seem to become. I have found the more I let go of the issue, the greater my capacity for a strength not my own! Strength comes to others because they endured the struggle and came out still standing. I believe there are times when our greatest strength is not when we are still standing, but when we fall down and admit we are nothing more than a child standing in need of our heavenly Father's help to get up once again. Others believe strength to be the capacity to forget about certain things opposing you head-on and focus only on the objective at hand. I know the focus we maintain matters greatly, but it isn't an ability to forget what opposes us that makes us strong - it is the ability to keep no other focus than Christ that does!
Strength comes in the form of "capacity" - the ability to expand or endure just a little bit more than what someone may honestly believe they are able to do at that moment. Strength also comes in the recognition of weakness - the acknowledging of our lack of capacity and fear of the unknown. There is no greater strength than to admit we are struggling with something - for that moment of vulnerability is what makes room for more of God's ability to fill us where we are empty and to build us up where we have been torn or worn down! Just sayin!