I sat in exhaustion and stared at the TV screen. My heart was not in the music as I watched my dear, hardworking church staff bring worship into my living room.
All I could think of, as the music swelled, was how much I despised the inability to gather face to face with brothers and sisters in Christ. Typically not gathering with others is “my choice”.
Usually, if I didn’t make it to church, I had a sick kid, family emergency, or a desire for a different quiet. But someone else telling me I cannot do something I love makes me downright frustrated. The fact that it feels like there is no end in sight feels oppressive and more than my heart can bear.
Like many of us, I have been realizing things about myself these past few weeks. The good and bad. One thing I have realized is that for most of my entire life I have been focused on serving others.
This probably explains why I love teaching and writing. I am giving others a gift, crafting an art, and it is a joy to see their delight. I love serving my family, having friends for dinner and don’t feel particularly useful if I am not a blessing or planning to bless someone.
This sitting in a place of anchored rest has been difficult in that my rhythm of blessing looks different. It has taken a different level of consistent strength and one that can only come from God Himself.
As a young boy, King David faced a giant of magnificent proportions. The courage and bravery he faced in the shadow of Goliath forced David to rely on the steadfast strength of God. His focus was not on his inability, but on God’s ability to infuse His strength to defeat the enemy. This shepherd boy had to trust in something stronger than himself. This allowed those around him to see God differently.
In the camps of Saul, David was given armor to put on and told to go and defeat the giant. My favorite words David said in the midst of struggling under the armor are
“I can not use these because I am not used to them”
(I Samuel 17:39, NIV)
You can almost see this small boy toss the armor aside and march over to the brook with his slingshot. Grabbing five stones, he was convinced that with God’s help, this would be all the strength he needed.
People have offered a lot of “tools” these last weeks in how to function. Additional resources and ideas keep coming across social media, news articles, and group chats. While I have been grateful for them, and even used a few, I keep coming back to this truth.
God has already given each of us the tools we need to endure this giant and His strength.
Because of our experiences and our own faith, we each have an arsenal that God has provided us with. He promised as children of God that
“The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you…”(John 14:26, ESV)
Sometimes it is easy to forget what we have to use in times of facing our giants. We get so caught up in the emotion that we tend to focus on what we don’t have, rather than what strength God has brought to us.
In whatever areas we are needing strength we know that God has given us
the ability to speak kindness in the midst of fear,
to respond in love when we see a need,
to offer notes of encouragement, honks of support, and cheers from a distance.
We have the knowledge to think through and solve problems,
people that love us,
and the ability to have a good belly laugh at the antics our kids or pets display when the world is topsy turvy.
So maybe the “strength” of God doesn’t always come in a magnificent Red Sea parting. Rather in small quiet steps in our faith journey. Taking the next step in trust that God is the provider of all the power I need to overcome the areas I feel zapped of strength.
Over time these steps add up and before we know it we can look back and see His hand all over the areas we felt weak, inadequate, anxious, and weary.
So today, I leave you, sweet reader, with the words of the apostle Paul to encourage you in your place of needed strength.
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be the glory…” (Ephesians 3:20, ESV)
May God continue to give you the strength to carry on!