“The Eternal is the source of my strength and the shield that guards me. When I learn to rest and truly trust Him, He sends His help.” Psalm 28:7a (VOICE)
It was years ago when my firstborn traipsed through a muddy pumpkin field in search of the perfect pumpkin, but I can picture him now. Wrapped in a fuzzy yellow sweatshirt and an ornery grin, he moved up and down the rows of tangled vines and inspected the bulging orange fruit.
I’d already made it clear we were leaving with just one, so he stooped to consider the shape and texture, the width and height of every pumpkin that caught his eye.
He wiggled them and slapped them, sniffed them and studied them. Finally, he gave a Goliath-sized gourd a gentle kick and stared at me with an expectant grin. “I want this one, Mom!”
Weigh it, then pay it! the sign posted on the edge of the pumpkin field had declared.
One look at Goliath, and I knew I didn’t have enough money in my pocket to pay for my son’s pumpkin of choice.
But before I could voice my objection, a coverall-clad farmer sauntered to our side. “I’ll give you that pumpkin for free if you can carry it,” he said to my boy with a conspiratorial wink.
My little one nodded, then wrapped his spindly arms around the pumpkin’s massive middle and tried to lift it out of the dirt. He grunted and heaved. Heaved and grunted, but that pumpkin wouldn’t budge.
Finally, my preschooler plopped on the ground beside that giant gourd, and I braced myself for the angry wails that were sure to follow.
Much to my surprise, there were no tears or tantrums, just an honest admission: “I’m not strong enough to carry this,” my boy told the kind-eyed farmer.
The old pumpkin grower rubbed his silver beard and held my son’s earnest gaze. “Sorry about that, young man …” he said.
“It’s okay,” my 4-year-old replied with a confident smile. “My daddy’s really strong.”
A sing-song chuckle erupted from the farmer’s lips, and I laughed with relief when I realized that my son hadn’t stayed stuck on what he couldn’t do. Instead, he allowed his weakness to remind him of what his daddy could do.
And there on that pumpkin-dotted hilltop, it struck me. That’s all God asks of His children, too.
God doesn’t expect us to stir up our own strength or multiply our own might. He doesn’t command us to conquer our challenges alone or give up when we face our gaps. He invites us to seek His with-ness in our weakness and enlist His extravagance in our lack.
Perhaps that’s why, in today’s key verse, we find King David singing with confidence when it seems he’ll soon be sunk.
“The Eternal is the source of my strength and the shield that guards me. When I learn to rest and truly trust Him, He sends His help” (Psalm 28:7a).
And centuries later, we discover the Apostle Paul echoing the same sentiment from a stinky prison cell, where he declares:
“I am at peace and even take pleasure in any weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and afflictions for the sake of the Anointed because when I am at my weakest, He makes me strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10, VOICE).
King David and the Apostle Paul understood what you and I would be wise to remember: Our weaknesses can set the stage for God’s strength.
Our lack can pave the way for His provision.
Our gaps can be windows to His glory.
Our “not enough” can make room for His “immeasurably more” (Ephesians 3:20, NIV).
Friends, when we truly understand this radical truth, something amazing happens.
We become less concerned about what we can’t do and more convinced of what God can do.
Where we once felt frustration, we find freedom. Where we once felt discouragement, we find hope. Where we once felt frailty, we find strength.
And just like Paul, David, and a 4-year-old I once knew, we discover that our weaknesses aren’t fatal when we have a Daddy who’s faithful … and really, really strong.
Dear Jesus, I want to know You as my strong Father. Teach me how to live in the freedom of Your strength rather than in the frustration of my shortcomings. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Ephesians 6:10, “Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God.” (VOICE)
Isaiah 40:29, “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” (NLT)
Do you ever struggle with loneliness during the holiday season, even though our culture says it’s the most wonderful time of the year? You aren’t alone. Don’t miss our next Online Bible Study, Because of Bethlehem: Every Day a Christmas, Every Heart a Manger by Max Lucado. The 4-week study begins Nov. 11. Sign up today!
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
How have you seen God display His strength in your weakness lately?
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