"If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!"
- Proverbs 24:10 NIV
The Lord often shows me this verse when I'm going through difficult times. It's one of those “ouch” verses in the Bible, and it always convicts me when I see it. The Living Bible translation says, “You are a poor specimen if you can't stand the pressure of adversity.” God said basically the same thing to the prophet Jeremiah when he was complaining to the Lord about the injustices he had to deal with. “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?” (Jeremiah 12:5 NIV) In other words, “If you think this is bad, how are you going to handle it when things really get tough?” One reason why God wants us to be strong in times of trouble is that He wants to use us to advance the work of His kingdom. He can't do that if we fall apart every time we face a crisis in our lives. Can you imagine a commander putting weak and fearful soldiers on the front lines? Not only would his men get slaughtered, but he wouldn't have much chance of victory.
What does the Bible say about strength, and what can we do to appropriate the strength God wants us to demonstrate? Scripture says that the Lord Himself is our source of strength (Psalm 18:1), so walking in close fellowship with Him daily can make us strong. It says that the people who “know their God”--in a personal way--“shall be strong and carry out great exploits.” (Daniel 11:32 NKJV) It also says that unconfessed sin can “sap” our strength (Psalm 32:4), so repenting for our sins, and receiving God’s forgiveness can restore us. The Bible tells us that “the joy of the Lord is [our] strength” (Nehemiah 8:10), so we must resist the sadness and depression can make us weak. And we're told that we are strengthened when we trust in God and put our hope in Him. (Isaiah 30:15, 40:31)
We can pray for strength, and we can stand on the many promises in God's Word concerning strength. In Psalm 86:16 (NIV), David prayed, “Grant Your strength to Your servant.” And in Psalm 18:32 (NIV), David declared, “It is God who arms me with strength.” The apostle Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV), so we can be sure that God will give us the strength we need to handle all that He calls us to. Paul also said, “Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10), so we know that being strong involves our will, and is something that we are capable of because of our relationship with God. And I have discovered that in times of crisis and weakness, praising God and giving Him thanks can build us up and strengthen us like nothing else can. (Romans 4:20-21 AMP)
The Bible says that as followers of Christ, we are His soldiers. (2 Timothy 2:3) God doesn’t want weary warriors. He desires and deserves strong and able servants who know how to draw on His strength. May you and I hear and heed His command today: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”! (Joshua 1:9 NLT)
Prayer: Lord, in times of trouble, show me how to stand strong so that I won't falter. Fill me with Your joy to give me strength, and help me to put my wholehearted trust in You. Guard me from any unconfessed sin that could weaken me, or hinder my fellowship with You. Let David's declaration be mine each day—“I love You, O Lord, my Strength!” (Psalm 18:1 NIV)
- J. M. Farro