I wrote the following article while pregnant with our daughter Amaris. I knew I needed extra physical strength to thrive during my pregnancy and during the delivery. Was God faithful? Yes, He was! I worked as secretary until she arrived, and even was able to preach a sermon in my eight months pregnant (For those of you who have never been pregnant, standing for three hours at a time during greeting visitors, praise and worship, and finally the sermon is not naturally easy!). The song above was my theme song the last month of my pregnancy.
Our natural instinct is to consider ourselves as self-sustaining, able to handle every situation that comes our way. We think we have all the strength we need in and of ourselves. Unfortunately, believing this makes us a failure because we were never designed to take care of ourselves. We don’t have what it takes to conquer every problem, negative feeling, and frustrating experience. Eventually, no matter how smart or strong we think we are, we fail because our strength isn’t enough.
As Christians, our first response in life before any challenge comes is to recognize God as our strength. It’s far better to draw on His strength before a challenge arrives than when we are right in the middle of it. But regardless of whether we’re in a calm season, or in a stormy one, our job is to “cast our care” on Him.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (I Peter 5:6-7)
Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved. (Psalm 55:22)
“Casting” is an act of humility and trust . . . and the only way we can access His grace and strength. If we don’t “cast” our care, throwing it from our hands to His, He will never have anything to catch and to hold. Rest assured His ability to hold is much stronger than ours!
Our confidence to cast our care should be founded on God’s nature. He is our strength. The very core of who He is equals strength and power.
My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26)
I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:1-2)
Our confidence doesn’t end with knowing who He is. It’s also founded on knowing that His strength is limitless. Unlike man’s strength, it’s unfailing. It’s supernatural, not dependant on any source of earthly stamina or ability.
Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You. (Jeremiah 32:17)
It’s wonderful to know the nature of God and His ability. But just as great is His promise to use that power on our behalf. He could simply hoard His ability and refuse out of selfishness to share His power. His love for us, however, prompts Him to move on our behalf.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. (Isaiah 40:29)
Notice that Isaiah 41:10 says He will. We know from Numbers 23:19 and Hebrews 6:18 that it is impossible for Him to lie. When He says He will do something, we can have assurance that He will do just as He said He’d do. When He says He is with us, then He is. When He says He is our God, then He is. When He says He will strengthen, uphold, and help us, then we know that’s exactly what He will do!
God does not force us to do anything. We have been created with a will, the ability to choose. Our first step is to cast our care, but there is more action we need to take in order to see God’s strength revealed in our lives. Those actions come in the forms of trusting and waiting on Him.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. (Isaiah 26:3)
But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 41:31)
The result of trusting His strong nature is a strait path and a peaceful mind. The outcome of waiting on Him is an endless supply of strength and energy! When we sense our strength waning, He renews it. When we feel below our problems, we can soar above them. When we feel tired in the journey, we can keep the pace without fainting along the way.
The key is to “wait.” This means we are not to rush forward and try to solve our situation ourselves. We are not to become impatient with God’s timing or speed. We are simply to wait as He works, keeping our faith constant. Only then can we see the fullness of His promise to provide every ounce of strength He promises!
The Devil’s Lie
Rest assured, however, that the devil will do all he can to try to stop our faith in God’s strength. He’ll send doubt and fear to cloud our confidence. He’ll tempt us with impatience and frustration when we don’t emotionally feel or see His strength in the natural realm. He’ll lie to us, trying to convince us that we can manage the situation alone. This is when we have yet another choice – the choice to resist him, realizing that it’s not our power that will get the job done.
‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6)
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (Ephesians 6:10)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
If we are tempted to believe what the devil says, the way we feel, or what others tell us, then we can be confident that our trust in God’s strength is working! The devil will not bother someone who is already trusting in themselves. But what does scare him is a believer who is wholly confident in the strength of God that belongs to them. They are very aware that it’s His might, His power, and His strength that makes us “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37)!
God desires that we walk in a lifestyle of depending on His strength. Our lifestyle, marked by this dependency, does not only turn to Him when the need arises, but focuses on His ability every day of our lives. Whether it’s decision-making, physical ability, or success in the work place, God desires to flex the strength of His arm on our behalf. When we trust that arm, He causes us to soar, not in fluctuating patterns, but higher and higher, stronger and stronger!
I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD . . . (Psalm 71:16a)
They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion. (Psalm 84:7)