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With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees. Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.” - Isaiah 35:3-4 (NLT)
Have you ever been around a toddler trying to learn to walk? Their effort, their independence, their stops, and starts -- it’s all part of their progress. I remember when my kids were little and they so craved to do things on their own. I remember the phrase many a day, “Me do it by myself!” Shew! They obviously eventually learned that they were stronger when they had a bit of help.
Surrendering our will and our way to the Lord can feel like a toddler going through the stages of crawling, standing up, and then cruising. We are all different and we’re all on a journey. Do you have encouragers in your path who are affirming your steps forward to take hold of all the Lord has for you? Do you find you are getting more and more practice in life trusting God with your tired hands and weak knees? A little confidence goes a long way. But you have to expect some starts and stalls in the journey. The more reps we get with handing over our independence and taking hold of dependence on the Lord, the lighter life gets.
Our circumstances may not change immediately, but our outlook and day-to-day peace sure can. Our current state, even on an awesome day, is that we are in need of God. He is amazing and He is able. Our best still pales in comparison to His greatness. The best words we can say are, “God, I need you for this.” Maybe you’re like me and you can be guilty of operating with a false strength. But only when we admit that do we find true strength. God’s idea of strength is in letting go, not in holding on white-knuckled. He’s so gracious to love us in spite of ourselves. It all begins with one step. A step toward embracing all He is and all He can do.
When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. - Psalms 94:19 (NLT)
I’ve never been good at asking for help. I like to think I am independent and, sad to say, even pride myself at times on being a “get it done” person. That was all well and good until I found myself in a lot of physical pain and emotional hardship. I had to get real honest with myself. It took quite a few people I love and respect to help me hold up a mirror and get real. Because this was not an ongoing discipline, it took a bit for this internal assessment to go from foreign to familiar. I’m so grateful for those true friends...and so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father.
The best “But God” moments come when we resolve, get honest, admit our weakness, and acknowledge our cracks. His light and His power shine through and change the climate of our circumstance. The strongest people know their weaknesses and surrender them to the God who holds the universe in His hand
Why do we want to fight that? Do we have an image to uphold? Does our pride get in the way? Do we fear what people will say or think? Are we afraid to dismantle our sense of heroism? Does the potential humiliation deter us?
Garbage -- as Paul would say! He said to boast in our weaknesses because it is in our weakness that God’s strength is made perfect in us. Honesty unlocks healing! The world, the enemy, and even our own negative self-talk can deceive us into thinking the old adage of “fake it ‘til you make it” is truth. This only takes us deeper into an isolated pit where we’re paralyzed by pride. It’s only in acknowledging our need for God and His help that we can become strengthened by truth and empowered toward a better, more authentic story-- a story only God can use to help others, grow our walk with Him, and set us on a path of peaceful living.
“Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he rescued them from their distress. - Psalms 107:6 (NLT)
A few months ago my family all met in Ohio to spend the weekend at my brother’s family cabin. We always have a blast! Football, chili, sitting by the fire, early morning coffee, with lots of games and tons of laughs! This year we took a hike as a family. It was cold, wet, and rainy -- a perfect fall day, really. Well, on the hike one of the kiddos slipped and took a tumble. It was a pretty steep area where we were and their immediate reaction was to say the most liberating words, “I need help up.” We can learn a lot from kids.
Why do we fight the notion to ask for help? Why do we feel the need to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and attempt to do things all on our own? As we are learning this week, there are valleys in life that we are not capable of climbing out of, even though our culture wants to tell us differently. Real freedom comes as we acknowledge that reality. Then it can catapult us into experiencing God and encountering His promises.
When we get comfortable with going to God for help and saying those liberating words, “Lord, help,” it is extremely empowering. We find He is so faithful to hear us, respond, and rescue us. We can ask Him for help because He is enough. He knows us better than we know ourselves. There is strength in knowing how powerful He is. Growth begins when we cease to limit how big and how vast God is and what He can do.
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. - Psalms 73:26 (NLT)
I remember when the kids were little, Ked would have them do “trust falls.” He would stand a few feet behind them and have them free-fall backward into his arms to catch them. Our daughter had no hesitations and even told him to move back further. Our son was a little more cautious and nervous. It took him multiple times to muster up the confidence to let go and fall backward.
Letting go and allowing God to sustain us can feel like that sometimes. To free fall into His plan, His purpose, and, moreover, His unfailing promises. His strength is not contingent upon our circumstances but on His character. He has super broad shoulders. The more we know Him, the more we trust Him. We find He is worthy of our trust because that trust is anchored and rooted in His limitless love for us.
The invitation we are given by God through His Son, Jesus, is to surrender our worst and weakest moments to a God who wants to help us and transform us for the better. That invitation comes sealed with His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to live a life like this. As the word says, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. - Psalms 28:7 (NLT)
I am inspired by the story of a survivor trapped in an earthquake’s rubble for 27 days. It is said that this survivor is thought to be the longest-ever earthquake survivor. The survivor was severely malnourished, dehydrated, traumatized, and suffered major wounds. Here is the survivor’s statement when he spoke out for the first time:
"I still don't understand how I'm here," he admitted, his skeletal body resting limply in an intensive care bed at Tampa General Hospital, Florida. "I was resigned to death. But God gave me life. The fact that I'm alive today isn't because of me, it's because of the grace of God. It's a miracle, I can't explain it.”
Whatever our trial, hardship, or need -- we can say with confidence, “But God....”
Let’s lean into these (4) truths today:
God is our strength and shield.
We can trust Him with all our heart.
He helps us.
Our heart can be filled with joy.
Our past remembrance of God’s faithfulness fuels our faith to believe He will do it again! That frame of reference and previous encounters with God in this way will afford us great peace when we come to those crossroads in our lives. Those “But God” moments when we think our mountain is too big, our prayer is too far-fetched, our heart’s cry is not heard, or our pain is too great.
Living cemented to God as our foundation and source allows us to stand firm even in the most trying of times. We begin to exchange our need for help being seen as a weakness and instead see our need for help to bring peace, rest, and freedom. We can cease with anxiety, restlessness, and bondage.
Make a list of the character traits God reveals about Himself -- when He says in Scripture, “I am (fill in the blank).” Pray into those aloud. Then turn them into prayers of thanksgiving and gratitude. It is a great reminder especially when you are walking in the valley or enduring a storm. He is your light in the darkness and your calm through the storm.Share Tweet