2 Corinthians 12:9-11 NKJV
Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV
1 Chronicles 16:11 ESV
Ephesians 3:16-19 NKJV
I’ve know for a very long time that my strength does not come from myself.
That’s not hard to figure out when you’re about as big as a fourth grader. Seriously, one of my grandsons who is in the 2nd Grade is just about to pass me up in height. He is seriously going to be tall! But then, I AM seriously short.
When I had just finished my second year of college in 1973 I was confused about what I wanted to major in and In those days you had to declare a major. About that time someone offered me a job working as a clerk for the railroad and I took the job. I wasn’t sure what a clerk did, but I went to railroad school to learn. Three months later I found myself walking the tracks writing down railroad car numbers just west of downtown Kansas City, MO.
The money was good but come rain or shine, snow, sleet, or heat, I walked the tracks day or night. It was pretty scary sometimes. As small as I am I knew if I ran into trouble I wouldn’t be able to do much to defend myself. As it turned out, my greatest threat was the hoards of rats that came into the yard to eat grain that fell out of the railroad cars.
THAT’S really when I became a prayer warrior.
I learned really fast how to pray prayers of protection!
There were other physical challenges as well. One of the things I needed to be able to do was to “hop” on a moving train. Seriously, as short as I am I had to run and jump up, grab hold of the handle and pull myself up onto the steps. Because of that and other physical things I had to be able to do, I prayed asking God to give me the physical strength I needed to do my job.
I also prayed that I would be emotionally strong (not afraid) when I was by myself in the railroad yard in the middle of the night.
Looking back (nearly 50 years ago) I can see how very much God blessed me and answered my prayers!
God did not fail me, ever. I passed every test. Nothing happened at night that scared me. God was there for me every day, every hour, every minute.
I learned as it says in 2 Corinthians 12:9-11, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I was weak.
God was strong.
Deuteronomy 31:6 tells us, “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the one who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
When I was not strong, God was strong FOR me.
Today, I see I’ve had a lifetime of God’s protection.
I can honestly say that being faced with real fear early in life was a huge blessing. I really did learn to pray. I really did learn to rely on God’s strength.
I really did learn how to SEEK God. I learned that God was my protector and constant companion.
Are there things I know now that I would like to have known then?
Oh my, yes!
1 Chronicles 16:11 tell us, “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!”
Just like you, I’ve faced hard times. I’ve hit the big WALL. I’ve suffered losses. There have been times when I couldn’t hear God and times when I wasn’t sure God was nearby.
I’ve been told that it’s okay when we don’t feel God is nearby because when we are desperate God is so close we can’t see Him.
I don’t disagree with that, but my theology has grown significantly (Seminary tends to do that). Today, I know that because I turned to God decades and decades ago, the Spirit of God resides IN me.
When you turn to God, the Spirit of the Living and Holy God resides IN you. That means when you hurt God hurts a gazillion times more for you. You are His child. We can’t begin to understand how high, how deep, and how wide the love of God is for us. Ephesians 3:16-19 tells us, “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
I had the power in me, but when I was 19, I didn’t know I had the power in me. I didn’t know that every minute of every day, Christ lived in my heart. I should have known it, but since I hadn’t read it or heard it, I hadn’t thought of it that way.
That’s why I’m telling you today…when you turned to God, or when you turn to God, the Spirit of God lives in you. You do not need to reach out or up to find it. The Spirit is right there in your heart.
If you are reading this and you haven’t turned to God…do it now! Close your eyes and seek God. You do not have to do the work…God will find YOU. God will hear you, and once you turn one time, the Spirit of God will BE in you. From that moment on, God WILL hold onto you.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Speak a prayer to God IN you.
Lord, thank you for being IN me! Amen
In God, Deborah