Today I made a list of my present circumstances. If you are brave, go ahead and write yours out. Most of us do not find ourselves short on “circumstances” these days. The part we find ourselves short on is “strength” to match those circumstances. Words from a devotional I use and scripture I turned to, give me perspective. My simple plea to myself and others who are under, with me, is “Don’t let circumstances intimidate you…overwhelm you, rob you, make you bitter, hurt you, or even define you!” I am sure there are many more verbs you could fill in the blank with. But why do I allow circumstances such an overpowering place in my life, when I have a God who knows me, loves me, walks with me, and has been faithful to me?
I waiver in my ability to “do” circumstances. I focus on my list and have doubts about how I am going to handle “my” list, even for the day! The reality is, God does not give me the same amount of strength each day – you know, same God, same strength, same-o, same-o, people say. I don’t treat the people I love in my life the same way every day – I see the needs and try to meet the needs of that day for that person. He sees the degree of difficulty of my circumstances, then He empowers me according to the need of my day. Just like those wilderness wanderers who only got manna for one day at a time, so we need to get that picture. Strength for the day’s circumstances. How well that works for me…depends upon how willing I am to depend on Him for what I need today.
There is a great passage in Deut. 33 where Moses is blessing the tribes of Israel and when he gets to the end of the chapter, He says something that makes so much sense when you know God. He says that His strength will equal my day. I like math so in an equation format it looks like this: my circumstances + my circumstances + my circumstances = His strength. One version says, “As your day, so shall your strength be.” That’s it! God’s strength – it is equal to my circumstances, my needs!
In Ephesians 1, Paul is praying that the eyes of those saints he was writing to will be open so that they can see some things. We live in a day when our sight seems to be so impaired. We cannot see God well! Verses 18-20 detail what Paul feels the believers need to see, recognize, and know experientially. I count myself in that group that needs my vision sharpened. So clean your glasses and see….see what? See the HOPE that we have been called to, the RICHES we have inherited from Him, the INCOMPARABLY GREAT POWER that He has – his strength at work in us. What does that power look like? He tells us in that passage – it is the same power that jettisoned Christ from the dead, out of the tomb. It is the same power that took Him to Heaven! I would say that it would be enough power and strength for my day; what about yours? Know the HOPE, RICHES, POWER – allowing these realities to sustain your day. Our circumstances are real, but God is real and He longs for us to tap into His reality!
Psalm 105:4 tells us what to do in spite of our circumstances. I like that. I like when someone just tells me what to do. He says, GIVE THANKS to the Lord; MAKE KNOWN his deeds; SING to the Lord; TELL about His acts; GLORY in his name; LOOK! Look at what? LOOK TO THE LORD AND HIS STRENGTH. There it is again – His strength – it’s for me. In fact, this passage and many others say that we are to do that “always.” Then finally it says, “REMEMBER.” Remember how God has worked in the past – with those circumstances of other days. How quickly we all forget how He has been there for us before, just as He has for all the saints who have gone before us.
I have friends today who suddenly lost a family member last week – friends without jobs – friends with broken relationships and hearts – friends with terminally ill children – my own three year old grandson fights a disease that has no cure – circumstances!! I have my own set of discouraging circumstances. So if I give them to God….does that mean we get what we want? Will there be a cure, a job, a house?? Do things get easier? Do my bad circumstances go away? I used to think so, or at least hope so. It is what my brothers called my “Pollyanna” mentality. They been trying to help me with it throughout the years. But the reality is that in our fallen world, I will have circumstances and even if they never change, He will give STRENGTH – He will give that “incomparably great power” spoken of by Paul, who also shared God’s answer to Him when he was struggling with circumstances…”My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” II Cor. 12
That is what I need – His strength for my needs – it is mine and yours, if we are willing to give our list to Him and ask Him to be equal to our list, just today! Go ahead, give Him your list – He is up for the task of making you strong today.