Have you ever thought about how being strong and being faithful are intertwined?
There are non-believers who think that faith and religion are used as “crutches” by weak people. Guess what? We’re all weak people.
A Bible study I was doing recently looked at the difference between strong and faithful. In those thoughts came clarity in words as I had not been able to produce prior.
“I know she can make it. She is strong.” This was a quote taken from the story that the Bible study author was sharing. It was about a newly widowed woman, said by a mutual friend. Have you ever admired anyone for their perceived strength?
Or has anyone ever commented to you that you are strong? I’ve been referred to as strong over my life. From multiple surgeries due to a cleft palate as a child, on up to multiple miscarriages, complicated pregnancies, babies in the NICU, my husband with a brain tumor, and other trials as an adult. I’ve recently emerged from a ten year period of many hardships.
What gives someone the impression of being strong? Maybe not being in a constant state of hysteria. Maybe being able to at least function in a way that continues to carry on life’s necessary duties. Maybe being more logical than emotional. Digging a bit deeper, perhaps it’s the capacity to continue to reach out and love others, even when it’s difficult. Perhaps it’s that even if there are hysterics, there is an underlying peace that is beyond our human understanding. A continuing hope for the future and a joy unspeakable.
My favorite song is “Collide,” by Skillet. The chorus is so, so powerful to me that I get goose bumps every time I hear it and join in belting it out. It is the first song that really puts everything I’ve experienced into words. It’s about those times when your faith collides with fear. For me, there is no better description than a collision. It’s a blow – a forceful, sudden blow that takes your feet out from under you. That song says, “Can we hold on? Hold on! There’s something deep inside that keeps my faith alive; when all you can do is hide from the fear that’s deep inside of you; something to hold me close when I don’t know; there’s something deep inside that keeps my faith alive.”
What keeps our faith alive when faith and fear collide? It’s holding on. Holding on to Jesus. It’s making Him our Rock, leaning on Him, reaching out for Him, fully trusting and relying on Him. It’s having that love, devotion, loyalty, connection and relationship with Jesus to where He is the first “person” we run to. It’s being faithful…being faithful to Jesus.
In the Bible study author’s story, another friend responded, “No, she’s not just strong. She’s faithful.” And there’s the crux.
The author wrote, “I’m not sure we do a woman justice when she endures something brutal, and we chalk it up to strength. Sometimes people with no strength at all emerge from a horrifying season. They used all the might they had just to hold on to Jesus. And He was enough. In their weakness, He was strong.”
You can’t truly have strength without being faithful. Being faithful is holding on…holding on to Jesus. He will strengthen your heart – making your heart steadfast and unswerving, and He will give you the fruits of the Spirit, (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control), even in the midst of unbearable circumstances. Hold on!
This is my prayer for all of us as we enter into the holiday season, whether you’re on a mountaintop or in a valley:
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who loved us and gave us everlasting consolation and encouragement and well-founded hope through [His] grace (unmerited favor), comfort and encourage your hearts and strengthen them [make them steadfast and keep them unswerving] in every good work and word.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
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