Tag Archives: God’s strength in times of trouble

You Don’t Have To Be Strong (Judges 6-7)

So many times you hear people say some situation is too hard for them to handle. The burden is too heavy to carry, the enemy too strong to defeat.

That’s what Gideon told God about the Midianites. But God, in 6:14 said:

“Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand.”

I know! It sounds like God is saying He’s not giving Gideon anything more than he can handle in the strength he already has. People, even many Christians, hang on to this idea like it comes straight from the Bible. And this verse certainly seems to indicate that is true. But please don’t stop reading at verse 14.

Gideon cries, “NO! I am too weak. My whole family is weak. The enemy is too strong!”

Gideon recognized that the task at hand was beyond his capabilities. And, friend, sometimes… always… that is the first step to victory.

God says something in verse 16 I don’t want you to miss. The Lord answered:


“I will be with you. I will defeat your enemy.” In other words, “Go, Gideon, in the strength you have… WHICH IS ME!

Gideon was right to say he didn’t have what it took to defeat his enemy, and so are you when faced with that daunting mountain you’re facing, that sin you know you need to turn away from, that illness you’re fighting, that loved one who is going in a wrong direction, that toxic relationship you’re in.

But the good news, the really good news contrary from modern day thinking is: YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE STRONG! So much harm is done when we tell each other we should be able to handle something, to conquer something. “Tell yourself you are strong.” “Tell yourself you are more than capable.” “Keep telling yourself.” “And when you find you really aren’t all that strong, feel guilty about it because you SHOULD be strong.”

“After all, God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.”

That is such a lie! That is Satan’s attempt to replace God with yourself. Here’s what the Bible says about that:

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)

My grace us sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. (Isaiah 40:29)

The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory… (Exodus 15:2)

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. (Psalm 32:7-8)

Just Google “Bible verses about strength” and read what God wants you to know. Take the pressure of being some strong, capable, powerful person off your shoulders and run to the God of Strength. If you know God you don’t have to be strong, because…


And I promise, if you ask Him to be your strength, He will be your strength beyond what you can even imagine.

I’m going to leave you with something Paul said. Please notice what is missing in this verse. It doesn’t say be strong in your own power. It says:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. (Ephesians 6:10, emphasis mine)




Not Equal (Leviticus 7)

I find it so interesting, and reassuring, that each tribe brought exactly the same offering to the altar, no matter the size of the clan, or its wealth. All had equal share in the altar, all were required exactly the same. It speaks to me of our own equal footing before God in regard to our sin debt, and His grace equally available to all.

But there was something not equal in this chapter, too, and I have overlooked it until today. God told Moses to give carts and oxen to each Levite clan, “as each man’s work requires.” For those families in charge of the lighter loads, Moses assigned two carts and four oxen. For those with the heavier burdens, Moses gave four carts and eight oxen. The holy things didn’t require a cart or oxen at all. Those things were to be carried on the shoulders of the Kohathites.

I have a friend whose husband died yesterday. Janie’s load is heavy right now. And I know God will supply exactly what she needs to carry on with a broken heart, and a burden too great to carry on her own.

The thing is, she has lovingly cared for her husband these past 20+ months since his debilitating stroke. She has spent every day talking to him, even though he could not answer her. She has read to him, or just sat with him day after day after day, assuring him of her love with kisses and by holding his hand or stroking his cheek. It has been a difficult time.

Many people may think, “I don’t think I could do that. I’m not strong enough.” And they are right to think that. When our life is about carrying a lighter load, God doesn’t give us four carts and eight oxen. If our circumstances require us to do what we need to do while carrying our burden on our shoulders, He will not give us the strength of two oxen.

But let me assure you, that for those of us who know Jesus as our Savior, those of us who have a relationship with God Himself, we can count on all the oxen and carts we need when we need them. Not before. But exactly at the right time.

I’m praying for my friend today. She loves God, and Jesus is her Savior. I pray that she will recognize the strength that is hers through her relationship with God. I couldn’t do what she’s done, and what she is going to have to do in the days and weeks ahead. My burdens don’t require four carts and eight oxen right now. But Janie’s does. And I pray that she will find rest in the assurance of God’s strength, His love, and His Presence in her life.

I believe God gives His children what we need when we need it, that when we are at a place in life when we are crushed by pain, we find that Jesus provides exactly what we need to walk through it. One day my friend won’t need four carts and eight oxen. But she does today. And I trust that God is going to provide exactly what she needs.


June 20; Talk About It

I Kings 22:50; 2 Kings 2:1-25, 3:4-47, 8:16-29; 2 Chronicles 21:4-20, 22:1-6

God was going to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, and it seems everyone knew it. Wherever Elisha and Elijah went, prophets would give Elisha the news as though Elisha didn’t know what was happening himself. And Elisha’s response was always:

I don’t want to talk about it.

Sometimes things happen in our lives that are hard. Sometimes the signs are there that things are going to get worse up ahead. And sometimes we just don’t want to talk about it. What good would talking about it do, anyway? Right?

The Bible doesn’t record much of the conversation between the two prophets as they made their way to what would be Elijah’s last moment on earth. I hope as they walked that road together they said everything that needed to be said between them. I hope Elisha asked the questions that were on his mind, that Elijah gave his protege last words of wisdom and encouragement. I even hope they talked about what they were feeling.

The men knew God was going to come for Elijah, so they had plenty of time to say the things they wanted to say. But that isn’t always the case, is it? Sometimes we aren’t at the bedside of a loved one slowly dying. Sometimes we have no warning, no people telling us God is going to come for our loved one today. Sometimes our opportunity to say those things on our hearts is gone forever.

We don’t know for sure if Elisha took advantage of the knowledge that Elijah was going to heaven that day. The only thing we know for sure is that he didn’t want to talk about it with the other prophets. I only hope Elisha and Elijah didn’t waste the chance to say to each other what was on their minds and hearts.

I hope the same for each of us. Are there things you need to say to someone today? We don’t know if they will breathe their last breath before the day is done. We don’t know how life will change today, maybe a irreversible change. Let me encourage all of us to make that visit or pick up that phone and share what’s on our hearts while we still have the opportunity.

And may I suggest that you talk about your feelings, too. Those can be the most difficult conversations because it leaves us raw, exposed, vulnerable. But refusing to talk about how we are feeling can cause lasting damage, much more devastating than the immediate pain of getting those feelings out.

If you find it impossible to talk to that person about the things on your heart, and how you feel about it, find someone you can talk to. We need to say the words sometimes. We need to identify the feelings and admit to them. Ignoring them, or denying them, or minimizing them is never the answer.

Above all, say those things to God in prayer. I have found that when I just lay it out there, when I actually whisper those words of frustration, anger, confusion, bitterness, sadness, or whatever I’m feeling at the moment, brings a bit of release. I’m not bearing that burden on my own. The burden doesn’t always go away. But there is comfort in knowing Someone has put a bit of the load on His own shoulders.

What do you need to say to someone today? Do it. Talk about it.