Reading through the Bible the other day, I really got some great encouragement from the Lord. Let me share the verse with you:
"If thou faint in the day of adversity thy strength is small."
I love it when the Bible states the obvious. This verse, if we sort of skim over it, can be one that makes us initially think "Um, duh!" and leave it at that. I've read it before and done just that. But this time it grabbed me. God helped me to meditate on it, and gave me some good encouragement. (As only the Holy Spirit can, you know.)
It's tucked in the middle of wise one-liners that are part of the 'warnings and instructions' section of the book of Proverbs. (Which we all know were written by Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived. Might be worth a read or two, eh?)
Like I said before, if we gloss over this verse, then we'll miss what it doesn't say as well.
It DOES say that if we faint (become weary, give up) in the day of adversity (problems, trouble, hard times) then our strength is small.
[Let me interject a story here about my great-granny. It ties in ONLY by the fact that she spoke the obvious (like this verse seems to do). She was in a nursing home near the end of her life, and she cracked us up when we went to visit with the things she would say. She told my cousin Holly one time: 'You know, I believe if we cut your hair short, it wouldn't look so long.' Take that in for a minute. The end.]
Anyway, back to the verse. What is says is completely true! Hard times cause many (if not all people) to realize their frailty. The 'day of adversity' is not something we welcome or desire. I don't know anyone who has gone through a tough time who says: "Wow! Can't wait to do something like that again! That was great!" Most of us shrink from challenging situations, proving indeed that our strength is small.
Let me say this: That's a good thing!
How is this good? Well, it's only when we come to the end of ourselves that we'll ever trust God with anything. Once we've reached our limitations, we turn to God. I'm not saying it's good when we wait so long, but once we get it, then we get it. If you've ever gone through something stressful (and I'm not talking 'everyone thinks it's a big deal, I'm talking something that's a big deal to you) you can learn to trust God sooner than in the past. Isn't that good?
Let's talk about what the verse doesn't say. It doesn't say that your faith is small. Or that your God is small. It only says that YOUR strength is small. It's a very subtle reminder that God can. And we can't.
The human-ness (is that a word?) in us will give up shortly after we encounter resistance of any kind. See, we can become so focused on the situation in front of us, trying to manipulate the circumstances in our favor, that our strength soon runs out, and we admit defeat. It's exhausting trying to do God's job. Especially since we have don't have His mind.
However, if we learn to let the burden fall on the Lord, and trust in His strength, we can keep our chin up. We can encourage others that even though it's dark as night right now, joy will come in the morning. We may not know how, or when, or what God will do, but he gives beauty for ashes, joy for mourning. We can see things in the light of eternity, and know that one day, if we belong to Him, this struggle we now face will not even be on the radar of our memory.
God's strength never fails!