“‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.’ And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.” 2 Chronicles 32:7-8 (NIV)
Gosh, I wish I were strong. I have often thought what it would be like to be strong, both physically and emotionally. I wouldn’t have to ask people for help all of the time. I see other women who are physically fit and I get a bit down. I listen to women with stories of courage and survival and I think I would have folded in such a situation. I know we are not supposed to compare ourselves to others but it is so easy to do that. It’s easy to just allow that little voice in the back of my mind to speak words of discouragement. Why is that? Why are those voices always so much clearer and impactful then positive words? Why do we allow ourselves to be chained to such negativity when we are made in the image of such a glorious God?
But these thoughts are true for my life – and probably for many of you, too. It is so much easier to focus on my weaknesses and inconsistencies then the positives. For most of my life, I’ve battled this. From the time I was a little girl I have felt just a bit inadequate. Just a bit on the outside looking in. These feelings frustrate me. I wear a mask of securities and find myself shrinking on the inside. I can lead someone to Christ for their healing but not depend on him for my own weaknesses in areas like over-eating or depression. Frustrating, isn’t it? Can you relate?
The other day I read 2 Chronicles 32: 7-8. It made me stop. How had I missed this story? It was like I was reading it for the first time. “Be strong and courageous.” I have heard that part of the verse many many times. But it is the rest of it that caused my heart to jump. “…there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is The Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” Oh my goodness!! “A greater power with us..!!” Do you realize what this is saying? I don’t have to focus on my weaknesses, even if others do. I am strong because God is within me! And you! I am ashamed to say that I completely forget that at times. I forget that God doesn’t pick or choose when He gives us strength. Nope. If we aren’t feeling His strength, it’s because we CHOOSE not to accept it. He gives it freely, all day every day! Did you hear that? God never leaves us. We leave Him. I’m ashamed to say that at times when things are most overwhelming, I try to rely on my own humanness instead of reaching for my Lord. Why do we do that? Why do we not scream out to God? There is no reason for any us to ever feel week or hopeless. And yet, don’t we all feel that way from time to time? Don’t we all feel inadequate and unsure of ourselves in certain situations? If you are like me, then the answer is yes.
Jeremiah 17:7 (NIV) says, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.” I think that is the essence of my problem. I don’t always have the confidence I am supposed to have in God. I fear that He will forget about me so I have to do it myself. But He doesn’t work like that. He will be there as long as I seek Him. I have to learn to stop depending on my “flesh” as Hezekiah said, and rely completely on Him. My confidence in God is stronger then it was but not where it should be yet. What I can attest to is that for all the times I have completely submitted to God, I have experienced a source of strength and perseverance that I never could have experienced relying on my own flesh.
As you apply this to your life, ask yourself this question: How would your life be changed if you believed that God’s strength was living in you everyday, all day?
Lord, please forgive me for relying on my own flesh and humanness instead of solely on You. You have guaranteed your strength and grace through the spilled blood of Jesus Christ. Thank you for never leaving me even when I leave you. Convict my heart to never leave you again. Amen.