Are you in a battle right now? So many people I know are dealing with personal sickness, grief, fear, and pain. Some of us are battling temptations to sin. Our nation is in upheaval as we battle the transition between leaders and our country is divided into polar opposites. It seems we are facing multiple battles all around. And yet, in midst of these battles, I keep hearing of those who are at peace, those who are strong, those who are overcoming. And it gives me hope.
This morning as I was praying and having my quiet time with the Lord, I came across this verse:
“I lift up my eyes to the hills–where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV).
Exactly. The Lord spoke to my Spirit and said, “I am the Source of your help and your hope.” Praise God that the One who made heaven and earth is the One who is our help and our hope. There is nothing He can’t do!
If you have been reading this blog lately, then you know I have been focused on Luke 10:27 and what it means to truly love God with all that we are–with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength. I have puzzled over what exactly it means to love God with all our strength.
The Greek word translated strength is ischus, meaning “force, power, strength, might; to insist.” Another word closely related to that one means “overcoming immediate resistance” (NIV Exhaustive Concordance).
We need strength to overcome temptation to sin, to not be discouraged in the face of suffering, to not give up when confronted with evil. Jesus said we should love Him with all our strength. Sometimes when we are faced with trials and difficulties and pain and confusion, we have a hard time focusing on God and our love for Him. We may struggle to feel God’s presence. We may find it difficult to pray. We may not have the same fervor and devotion to God that we felt when things were going well in our lives. I’ve been there.
I believe God wants us to understand that He will be the Source of our help and our strength. We may have to “insist” that we love Him and that we believe He is working all things together for our good, even when we don’t feel it. We may have to take it by “force” if necessary in order to overcome “immediate resistance.” In other words, loving God with all our strength means that on our worst day, when our heart and soul and mind can’t figure it out, our strength will kick in and just insist that we love God no matter what.
“I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
When faced with temptations, God is the Source of our help.
“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
When faced with discouragement because of sickness, death, or attacks of the enemy, God is the Source of our strength.
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not be weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:30-31).
And when we have won the battle, we need to be the strength for someone else.
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed that your faith would not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32).
I don’t know where you are right now. You may be in a raging battle and feel that you have no strength to fight. Look to the hills from where your help comes. God is on your side. He is for you. He is with you. He is filling you with a strength you didn’t even know you had–a strength that will just insist that He is good, even if you have to believe it by sheer force of your will.
And if you are coming out of a battle with victory, it’s time to find someone else to strengthen. Stand with a brother or sister in the fight. Pray with them when they don’t have the words. Hold them up when their strength is fading. Point them to the hills.
Because that’s where your strength comes from, too.