But have you ever noticed that he doesn’t? He doesn’t waive his hand and *POOF*, magically you’re as strong as an Ox! Or, *POOF*, you have the resolve of a dozen people and are able to get through the day.
That’s not at all what God does. What he does do, is give us an opportunity to be strong. To do what needs to be done on our own. Don’t get me wrong, he is always with us, but like any good parent; he wants his children to be able to stand on our own.
I have come to understand this hard truth in the past few years, and have wrestled with it sporadically. But once I accepted the fact that God wants me to be strong, things got easier.
Now, I don’t pray for God to give me strength. I pray for God to give me an opportunity to be strong.
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
I have heard this verse cited all my life, and I look at it now with new eyes. God does give us strength as Paul states in Philippians, but I think he does it by giving us the opportunity to be strong. To learn from our mistakes, to develop and grow. Not just as a human being, but also as a child of the Lord.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
Psalm 46 is another very resounding verse about God being our strength. I look at this verse like this. A parent is teaching their child to ride a bicycle. The parent holds onto the back of the bike and reassures the child that they are there. But at some point, the parent has to let go so the child can ride the bike on their own.
Yes the child might fall down a few times, and God, like a good parent, is there to pick them back up. Our “refuge” like Psalm 46 says. But the parent gives the child a chance to try again. A chance to be strong and to learn from past mistakes and events.
Much like Samson in the book of Judges. He had lost his strength and was defeated. In chains. But God gave him the strength to smite his enemies one last time and redeem himself.
23 Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, “Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands.”
24 When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying,
“Our god has delivered our enemy
into our hands,
the one who laid waste our land
and multiplied our slain.”
25 While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them.
When they stood him among the pillars, 26 Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.”
27 Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform.
28 Then Samson prayed to the Lord,“Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.”
29 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other,
30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.
Yes, you might stumble. Yes, you might fall. But he will always be there to help you back to your feet and to give you a chance to be strong and overcome your enemies and troubles.