“I know that I’m not strong enough to be everything I’m supposed to be.”- Matthew West
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”- Philippians 4:13
“Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands- and then just eat one of the pieces.”- Judith Viorst, children’s author
After teaching third grade at Northwest Lutheran School in Milwaukee for eight years, I transitioned to fourth grade for the 2002-2003 school year. Drew, along with nineteen other students, journeyed with me across the parking lot to Covenant Lutheran Church’s education building. Due to life circumstances prior to beginning third grade, Drew relied heavily on his Christian education and faith at this time. Gymnastics channeled his physical energies.
Several years later Drew and his parents invited me to attend one of his meets. As I watched Drew complete his routine on the iron rings, his muscular strength impressed me. However, the key to his success lay in his mental preparation. On my way out, I passed Drew- in line for his next event. When I said hello, Drew needed to switch from his inner focus before he responded, “Oh, hi!”
Drew visually rehearsed his next routine while waiting his turn. From the spectators’ viewpoint, he appeared to be alone. But Drew was not all alone. Hours of practice with the Swiss Turners coaches and parental support provided a firm foundation for incremental growth.
During your desert, transitional time, the silence of solitude saps your strength. Jeff Manion (The Land Between) offers a fresh perspective on your situation:
“The very experience we wish to avoid can grow the very crop we so desperately need. The land we lease desire may produce the fruit we most desire- if we will let it, if we can turn toward God with open hearts . . .”
Max Lucado exhorts you to make God’s presence your passion. In You’ll Get Through This, Max provides four opportunities to open every pore of your soul. In the process, through the Holy Spirit’s power, God’s strength becomes your foundation.
1. Lay claim to the nearness of God. Grip this promise. Then, repeat it until it trumps the voices of fear and foreboding.
2. Cling to His character. Hold on to everything you know of who God is. Consequently, as Pastor Lucado emphasizes, “in changing times lay hold of the unchanging character of God.”
3. Pray you pain out. The time has come for tenacious, honest prayers. Hence, let God know how you feel. File your grievance. St. Augustine once wrote: “It is better to shake a fist at God than to turn your back on him.”
4. Lean on God’s people. Barnacles mature and strengthen their attachment through continually forming concentric rings of cement. Therefore, Max states, “be a barnacle on the boat of God’s church.”