I'm worn out with the election, with the candidates, with the advertisements - and with life in general. We're caught in stressful times, and we need strength for every new day. If you're tired today, you need more than rest; you need replenishment and rejuvenation. You need an infusion of power in the hidden core of your personality. My wife, Katrina, and I call this: Extra Strength.
Katrina has battled multiple sclerosis for over a quarter-century, and for the last several years she's been confined to a wheelchair. During this time, I've tried to maintain a regular and busy schedule, adding "caregiver" to my roles and obligations. Recently I've felt a little tired, and so has Katrina. The other day as we sat on the porch, she said, "Robert, will you bring me that bottle of extra strength pills from the kitchen?"
"Why?" I asked. "Do you have a headache?"
"No," she said. "I just need extra strength today."
I thought she was kidding, but she wasn't; so I retrieved the bottle and studied it. There on the label was a blood-red designation: Extra Strength. I gave her a couple of pills--and took two for myself. It may have been psychosomatic, but we both felt a bit stronger afterward.
Not that we recommend the habit.
That little episode set me thinking: Where can we really find the extra strength required for each day? How do we build ourselves up when we've worn ourselves out? We need exercise, rest and good nutrition. But there's more. Our physical strength is enhanced by our mental attitudes, or, conversely, impaired by them; and our mental attitudes are empowered or polluted by the wellsprings of the heart. That day on the porch, Katrina and I weren't on the verge of collapse, but we did feel the weariness that periodically seeps into our bones whatever our age or stage in life.
The next morning, I looked up the word "strength" in the Bible. Everywhere we turn in Scripture, we see references to strength, might, power, energy, and omnipotence. The God of Scripture never grows weak or weary, and no amount of exertion can diminish His energy or resolve. He is majestic in power, and nothing is too hard for Him. His authority keeps the universe percolating without the slightest interruption or abeyance. And according to Ephesians 1:19-20, His incomparably great power is available "for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead."
Katrina and I went through the 232 strength references in the Bible and choose a dozen of them as our Extra Strength Verses. We've meditated on them as we arise in the morning and retire in the evening. As we study them, we feel we're connecting our forty-watt lives to the nuclear reactor of the very personality of God.
We bear these promises in mind when weakened by stress and strain. We've found few subjects more relevant. Our world today is enamored with strength: Core strength, upper body strength, lower body strength, military strength, industrial strength, financial strength, emotional strength, personal strength, peace through strength, strength through peace. On the other hand, society views weakness as a liability. Who wants to hike through a dark forest with a weak flashlight, for example, or look for a job in a weak economy? Yet strength and weakness come and go, ebbing and flowing like tides backwashing into the harbors of our own hearts. Sometimes we feel weak as water, and we need extra strength. But the secret to extra strength isn't so much found in medication as in meditation. It's not extra strength pills we need, but extra strength passages from God's Word.
You can be stronger than you are. Katrina and I want to share our dozen verses with you. May the Lord use these twelve biblical passages and promises - and others as you find them in God's Word - to give you "strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow."
• Your strength will equal your days - Deuteronomy 33:25.
• The eyes of The Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him - 2 Chronicles 16:9.
• The joy of the Lord is your strength - Nehemiah 8:10.
• God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble - Psalm 46:1.
• In quietness and trust is your strength - Isaiah 30:15.
• Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength - Isaiah 40:31.
• The Lord will... satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame - Isaiah 58:11.
• The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights - Habakkuk 3:19.
• Love the Lord your God with all your...strength - Mark 12:30.
• (Abraham) did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God - Romans 4:20.
• I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being - Ephesians 3:16.
• I can do all this through Him who gives me strength - Philippians 4:13.
If you're weary today, find a quiet moment to shut out the noise, retreat from the commotion, and quote these verses to yourself aloud. Meditate on them. Mull them over, put your name in them, and turn them into prayers.
Strength will rise when we wait upon the Lord.