Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Ephesians 6:10
I’ve just returned from a mission trip on which the youngest member was looking forward to his seventieth birthday; the oldest was nearing seventy-seven; and all others were somewhere in between. Sounds like a herd of dinosaurs. And the assignments with which we were tasked all included hard manual labor: hauling trash, digging drainage ditches, installing an irrigation system, digging large holes for planting trees and berry bushes. I didn’t mention that all but two were retired professionals who had spent their working lives sitting at a desk or conferring or researching.
I’ll confess that every evening I prayed for strength to continue the next day and for no one to be injured. One of our team members had arrived with a compression bandage on his knee in preparation for surgery; another had his right arm in a sling; a third had a “trigger” finger. You get the idea. A motley crew. And yet, all our tasks were completed; no one was sidelined; and there were no injuries.
On the final night prior to departure, one of our teammates confessed that at the end of the first day he thought he would have to ask me if he could return home because of his weariness and strain. And then he prayed for strength for one more day. At the end of that day, he thought for sure he’d have to leave, but he prayed for strength—for one more day. And he made it. All through the week he prayed, and he found that at the end of the mission, he was stronger than ever.
God promises us, “as thy days, so shall thy strength be” (Deut. 33:25). I believe this promise can apply not only to our physical needs but also to our spiritual, emotional, and mental needs. Have you sometimes needed strength to persevere or to address a difficult person? We’re told, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13); “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isa. 41:10); and one of my favorites, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isa. 40:31).
With these and so many more precious promises, there’s no need for us to lag or fear when he’s already given us everything we need to do his will.
Father, we acknowledge you as the source of energy, inspiration, and strength. Let your will be done through these weak vessels. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.