Sometimes I feel worn down. Extremely weak. Physically, emotionally and spiritually. All of the above. Strength seems far away. Non-existent. Yet I feel I must DO something to gain strength.
To gain strength physically I exert myself full force into a weight lifting session or a 3-mile run. After I DO those things, my physical body will gain strength, stamina and endurance.
To gain emotional strength I can DO something to lift my mood. Dive into a favorite book. Put on an upbeat CD to re-focus my attention. Or maybe even convince myself that something sweet like ice cream or chocolate will soothe my frail emotions.
But to gain spiritual strength, what is my first response when I feel weak? I can DO some things that will perhaps make me feel better: Go to church. Turn on the Christian radio station and sing my heart out. Go to my Bible study. Call a trusted friend and unload my concerns.
These are good things, yet all of them involve me doing something. According to Isaiah 30:15, there’s a different message to those who are feeling weak and in need of strength:
In quietness and trust is your strength.
I don’t see any action verbs that stand out in that verse. Shouldn’t I be doing something to gain strength? How can being quiet bring strength? And what about that word trust? How do you know someone is in the act of trusting? You can’t see it. Where is the action here??
The action is being accomplished by God Himself. When we are still and quiet in His presence, His strength becomes ours. When we truly trust God, our burdens are lifted from us. He takes them from us–in His strength. We don’t have to DO anything outwardly in our own strength. He does it all.
Quietness and trust go hand-in-hand. Being still before Him with a surrendered heart allows us to soak up His presence. And when we do that, it is easier to trust. When we know Him more intimately through His word and prayer, we can confidently trust Him. That is where our strength is gained. Not by anything we do, but by being in Him.
What’s that look like in day-to-day life?
I don’t always get this right. In fact, I frequently get this wrong and have to be humbled before I start to “get it”.
In the midst of a drama-packed melt down from my daughter, shouldn’t my strength come from yelling, lecturing or punishing out of anger?
In quietness and trust is your strength. (Lisa, pray for your daughter and trust ME with her short comings.)
In the midst of a disagreement with my spouse, shouldn’t my strength come from arguing, complaining or even taking things into my own hands?
In quietness and trust is your strength. (Lisa, let go of your pride and trust ME with your husband.)
When I’m sitting in traffic on Bardstown Road and only going two miles in 30 minutes, shouldn’t my strength come from honking my horn or mumbling ugly words under my breath at complete strangers who can’t hear me?
In quietness and trust is your strength. (Lisa, take a deep breath and accept the situation as it is. Trust ME to calm your anxious heart.)
Because of my sin nature, I am prone to try and DO something to gain what feels like strength in the heat of the moment. Yet those things all lead to disappointment, discouragement and even defeat. But when I quietly come before God and trust Him, I gain peace, hope and ultimately……STRENGTH.
So where are you feeling weak, dear friend? From where are you drawing your strength? Are you trying to muster up strength by doing things you think are productive? Are you impulsively reacting to a situation in which you feel weak? How do you handle the inner battle of your heart to DO -vs- BEING QUIET? Feel free to leave a comment! We’re on this journey together.
May we all embrace the truth and power of these words: