Strength in the Lord

Isaiah 40 says, “he gives power to the faint and to him who has no might he increases strength” (ESV). Just before Jesus ascended into Heaven after His resurrection, He told His disciples “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8, ESV). Judges 7 tells the story of Gideon who defeated the numerous Midianites with only 300 men so that Israel would attribute the victory to God, not their own strength (see verse 2). Again in Judges 16 we read about Samson, who was a judge over Israel known for his incredible, God-given strength and brute force. 1 Samuel 17 gives the well-known account of David, a young shepherd boy, who kills the Philistine giant Goliath and propels God’s people to victory over their enemies.

These are just a few pieces of the Bible that I read this morning. The interesting thing is, I didn’t plan to just read passages about people who had strength and power through the Lord. The first two (Isaiah 40 & Acts 1) came from a daily devotional reading about strengthening your marriage spiritually. The others were from a reading plan (The Story) that gives three chapters or so each day that highlight some of the most notable people and events throughout the entire Bible. However, I quickly saw the connections between theses passages when I read the questions at the end of the marriage devotional: Do you lean on the Holy Spirit to strengthen you and your marriage? What is a specific situation where you lacked ability, but were strengthened by the Holy Spirit? Obviously, Gideon, Samson, and David could answer those questions with several examples. Jesus tells His disciples before He leaves them that they will receive power in the form of the Holy Spirit and they will be His witnesses (see above). You see, God never asks people to do incredible things alone; He always offers us strength and courage to do things that seem too difficult or even impossible. God’s purposes for our lives are much bigger than we can imagine, but our God is also much bigger than we know. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, His dreams are more grand than our dreams. When He calls us into relationship with Him, He calls us to turn our lives upside down. He asks us to live lives that look crazy to those who don’t know Him, to love and sacrifice more than we think we can, and to surrender our will to His. All of this change and breaking away from being self-centered takes tremendous courage and strength; God provides everything we need to follow Him faithfully through His Holy Spirit. A common thread that runs through many of the stories throughout the Bible is simple, average (or even pretty bad) people doing incredible things for the Lord by genuinely trusting and obeying Him. They were often under-qualified, outnumbered, too young, too old or just not good or smart enough, but they believed God and walked in obedience to Him.

Do you lean on the Holy Spirit to strengthen you and your marriage? What is a specific situation where you lacked ability, but were strengthened by the Holy Spirit? 

When I look back to three years ago when my son and first child was born, I am reminded of the strength and courage that God gave me during that time. Being our first child, my wife and me were both nervous before we even arrived at the hospital. But I kept reassuring her that things would be fine. Although it worked out well in the end, things were not “fine.” She was induced because her blood pressure was elevated, then she spent 42 hrs in labor followed by an emergency C-section. Afterward, both she and our new baby had infections, several issues with IVs not staying put, and sleep issues. We were in the hospital 10 days in all, followed by months of follow-up visits to the pediatrician and an orthopedic surgeon in the city due to some minor underdevelopment issues my son had with his hips. I know our experience pales in comparison to that of many other young parents who have lived much more serious, and even tragic stories. However, it was still the most nerve-wracking and exhausting experience of my life (not to mention my sweet wife). Through this experience, I wrestled with fear, doubt, anger, confusion, frustration, and an overall feeling of dread during some of the most difficult times. But in that hospital I had my parents and my wife’s parents to encourage me. We had friends visit us in the hospital and at home, and we had a lot of people praying for us. I don’t think I have ever prayed more seriously and earnestly in my life than I did in that hospital. The Lord brought me (and my wife and son) through that difficult and stressful experience, and gave me courage that I know I didn’t have before. I was able to encourage my wife, talk calmly with the doctor and nurses, and make difficult decisions without letting my fear paralyze me. This boost of courage continued after we went home from the hospital and has continued to influence the person that I am. While expecting another baby in just a few months, I have been praying for trust and obedience to God no matter what issues may arise. I have also asked to be given more courage and wisdom to raise my children faithfully in the ways of the Lord.

 

Do you lean on the Holy Spirit to strengthen you and your marriage? What is a specific situation where you lacked ability, but were strengthened by the Holy Spirit? 

I would love to hear your response to one or both of these questions. Please respond in the comments section or on Facebook.

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