Something Far Better Than a Magic Wand

28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:28-31 (ESV)

So many people I love are hurting right now.  As I mentioned in my last blog post (“Under Pressure”), the source of the anxiety and pain and worry ranges from sickness and injury to family troubles to financial and employment issues to mourning the loss of a loved one.  I wish I had a magic wand that I could wave in the air and make all this sorrow and hurt go away.  I wish I could take away your pain.  I wish I could make your circumstances alright.

Since I have neither a magic wand nor the ability to wipe clean the slate of your life, I want to use what I can to reach out to you and help you.  What I have – what we all have available to us – is the power of God through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. 

I want to help you find the strength you need to face life’s trials and difficulties.  And that strength is found through faith in Jesus Christ.  It comes from resting in the Lord and knowing – trusting – that God transcends circumstances. 

At our Men’s Bible Study this morning, we finished John 19 – the account of the crucifixion and death of Jesus.  We discussed how unimaginable His pain must have been, on so many levels: humiliatingly stripped naked, beaten and scourged, huge spikes driven through His hands and feet, raw flesh rubbing against splintered wood beams, crown of thorns shoved into His head, thirsty, exhausted, slowly suffocating, abandoned by all but one of His disciples… I cannot imagine the sheer and utter agony and exhaustion of the experience.

And yet… on the third day following His horrific execution, Jesus Christ arose from the grave!  His physical, mental and emotional strength had been drained.  But Jesus didn’t need physical strength to rise from the tomb.  He shows us that, look, if I can be brutally executed and win victory over death, raising back to life within hours – at just the right time.  Now that is strength!  And it isn’t natural strength, but the power of God.

Look… God knows what you’re dealing with.  He knows your situation.  He knows what has you troubled, or burdened, or mourning.  He know what you are facing because He has faced it. 

Consider this: if Jesus can overcome death, do you suppose He can help you in your present situation?  “But I just don’t see a way through it.”  God does.  He knows.  He cares.  He loves you.  He may not hurry you through your dark times, but He will see you through them.  There is a light at the end of your tunnel.

And, no, it is not an oncoming train.

I want you to know that it’s going to be alright.  If God is for you (and, if you have faith in Him, He is), who can possibly be against you?  Who can stand against the Great I AM?  I am just about willing to bet that none of us have – or ever will – face a situation as terrible, as gruesome, as painful, as unjust, as the one Jesus faced.  And yet, through it all, the Son of God knew Who was His strength, and Who was in control: His Father.

Our Father.

Your Father.

It is why Paul wrote:

9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Cor 12:9-10 (ESV)

There was purpose in the persecutions and pains that Paul faced.  The Lord didn’t lift him out of all his discomfort and pain.  But, because of the power of Christ, Paul was able to live in lack as well as in wealth.  He was able to sing and praise God while imprisoned in a dark, dank Roman jail.  He was able to carry on despite painful physical afflictions and frequent threats on his well-being.  Paul could never have made the transition from Pharisee / Christian hunter to beloved apostle without the power of God.

Today, I want to encourage you to stop relying on your own strength.  On our own, none of us has a chance.  But, by the grace of Almighty God, you will make it through this crisis, the moment of great loss and sorrow, this pain and sickness.  Seek God first.  Ask for His strength.  Believe – know that you know that you know – that circumstances are never permanent, but the love of Christ never fails and the power of God never ends.

Don’t let what your facing sideline you.  Stay strong in Christ.  Stay in the Word and stay on your knees.  Do not for one second take your eyes off Christ.

Know that you are loved more than you can imagine.  Know that you are not alone, nor are you the first person to face whatever it is you are facing.  And know that I would consider it an honor to pray for you.  Just e-mail me at christophercourtney@comcast.net or drop me a message on Facebook.

Until next time… sleep easy.  Rest in the Lord.  Trust in Him.

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