"You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people." - Psalm 68:35
"The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace." - Psalm 29:11
"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." - Isaiah 40:29
All of us grow weary sometimes. It is of the essence of us that we are weak and frail, unequal to the challenges that face us in life. Matthew 12:20 calls us bruised reeds and smoldering wicks. A bruised reed is a blade of swamp grass that has somehow been creased and is hanging by a slender green thread. It would just take brushing into it and it will be severed completely and fall. A smoldering wick is one that is almost extinguished and has more smoke than glow. It is almost totally extinguished. These are pictures of frail, sinful human beings. Marvelously, Jesus deals so gently with weak sinners that “a bruised reed he will not break and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” Such is the gentle ministry of Jesus. But Jesus does more than touch us gently in our frailty. He also “gives strength to his people.”
What does that mean, “gives strength?” Many verses in the Bible speak of this phenomenon, but it is not easy to understand. In some cases, it has to do with physical power. Like Samson, who called on the Lord for strength and power and God enabled him to topple over the pillars supporting a massive temple. In Nehemiah’s time, the strength of the laborers was giving out as they were trying to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem from piles of rubble. Nehemiah prayed “Now strengthen my hands, O Lord” (Neh. 6:9). David called on the Lord for physical strength to conquer his enemies in battle (Psalm 18). In other cases, the Lord gives emotional strength to weak and depressed people. A prime example of that is in the life of David, when his family and those of all his men had been abducted by the Amalekites, and David’s men were speaking of stoning him, “But David found strength in the Lord his God” (1 Sam. 30:6). Paul spoke of the “secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, living in plenty or in want. And what is that secret? “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13). Why does it take strength for contentment? Because most healthy Christians begin the day with a desire to be happy and content in whatever comes their way, but adverse circumstances act like a pressure, a force driving our minds from that contentment. It takes tremendous strength to stay content in all circumstances, and Paul says he can do it by relying on the strength that God gives.
"In all our weakness, God desires honesty and prayer."
I believe that the Lord wants us to acknowledge our weakness before Him continually. This is why the Lord would not remove Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor. 12). Three times, Paul says, he entreated the Lord to remove it. And the answer was the same all three times: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” What does that mean? I think God wants us to bring our weakness to Him constantly in prayer. Perhaps it is a physical weakness—a disability or injury or chronic illness. Perhaps it is an emotional weakness—a tendency toward discouragement or even depression. Perhaps it is a spiritual weakness—weak faith or weak sense of Christ’s love for us. In all our weakness, God desires honesty and prayer. Then God’s limitless resources of strength and power can be glorified. He will flood His power into our lives, the good works He wants us to achieve will be achieved, and we will both know that it was God alone who deserves the credit for it. Thus is God’s strength made perfect in our weakness.
God gives strength to His people every day. Won’t you trust in him right now for some weak area of your life? Let His strength be sufficient to meet every weakness.