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I’m sure there are lots of ways for us to find strength in the Lord, but I ran across something in my devotions recently that got me thinking. For a lot of us, especially us men, we view strength as something we attain, something we work toward, something we strive for. That the harder I work the stronger I will get. That works great when you’re talking about your physical body but what about your soul?
And yes, there are times where God supernaturally gives us strength in the moment to accomplish a certain task, endure a certain pain or overcome a certain problem. But most often, the strength we need from God is not given in an instant or attained through our effort but it is found in our surrender.
There are three specific verses that I have recorded in my journal, each verse on a different occasion, that I had never put together until the other day when I felt that they all complimented each other. I reviewed one of them which reminded me of another which reminded me of the other. All three verses were from different places, inspired me on different days, now working together in my heart.
Psalm 18:30 God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
The Lord’s discovery process in me began with this verse. This time as I read it I thought, “that sounds a lot like another verse I recorded.” So I quickly found the other verse, and sure enough, it was similar but not exact. In fact there was one key word that made a major difference.
Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.
I have not dug into the original meaning of the word “look” and the word “come” in these two verses, so Hebrew scholars beware, but in my own personal heart it got me thinking. There is a big difference between looking to God and coming to Him, right? I know that Psalm 18:30 says we can look to him as a shield, so I’m not saying that we shouldn’t, but sometimes I think we look because we aren’t willing to come. We look because we want a quick fix. We want God to instantly give us strength, fix our problem or take the pain away. But what if the point of looking to Him is so we will come to Him? And if I come to Him but don’t remain in Him, does that do me any good? That’s when I was reminded of the final verse.
Isaiah 30:15 This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it.”
Wow! Seriously, wow! Yes, I should look to God. Yes, I should come to God. But looking and coming will do me no good unless I rest in Him. I have to stay still! Surrender, not striving is what leads to my strength.
I think the reason it’s so hard to come to God after we look, and the reason it’s so hard to rest in God once we come is because we are too busy striving. We need strength and so we work work work! We don’t have time to rest, right? But God said it’s only in returning to Him, resting in Him and being quiet in Him that we find strength. We don’t typically equate rest with strength, but according to God it’s the only way to get it!
Where in your life are you looking to God but not coming to Him? Where have you come to Him but aren’t resting in Him? Strength is not found in striving it is only found in surrender!