August 4, 2021
Experiencing God's Strength
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"The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights." Habakkuk 3:19a (NIV)
Several months ago, my husband and I drove 16 hours and moved in to our youngest daughter's home after she asked for help during a crisis in her pregnancy.
She'd been working long hours to put her husband through medical school, caring for their toddler and juggling household responsibilities, but then gestational diabetes hit. COVID restrictions further complicated matters. We committed to doing whatever was needed to get her through the pregnancy with both her and the baby's health intact.
I spent my days preparing meals and caring for my 2-year-old granddaughter, who woke at 6 a.m. and kept me on my toes until her bedtime. Then I'd tend to my own workload and deadlines. I'd fall into bed late at night, hoping that God would somehow multiply my hours sleeping.
Every morning when my alarm sounded, I faced a choice: get up a little earlier to spend time in God's Word or sleep a little longer. My soul craved communion with the Lord, but my body begged for another half hour in bed.
The tug-of-war grew more intense as one week rolled into the next. But what I discovered over time is that, on the mornings when I chose to spend time with God, my quiet, early-morning date with Him fueled me with an emotional, mental and spiritual strength that I lacked on the days I stayed in bed.
The Old Testament prophet Habakkuk found that spending intentional time with God fueled him with inner strength, too.
Habakkuk was in the middle of a crisis much larger than mine. He knew that the nation of Judah faced an impending Babylonian attack for refusing to repent of sin despite multiple warnings from God. He questioned and argued with God's plan to use an ungodly nation to discipline His people. (Habakkuk 1:12-17)
Habakkuk could have allowed frustration and fear to distract him and pull him away from God. Instead, he chose to seek God and listen for His response. (Habakkuk 2:1)
Hearing God's sovereign response changed Habakkuk's focus, and he began praising God for His power. Habakkuk acknowledged the Lord for rescuing His people in crises past and, ultimately, accepted and trusted God's decision to send the Babylonian invasion. (Habakkuk 3:2-16) Habakkuk also committed to rejoice in the Lord no matter how dire circumstances might become. (Habakkuk 3:17-18)
Having done these things, Habakkuk ended his book by saying, "The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights" (Habakkuk 3:19a).
We all encounter a crisis at some time or other. Fear and unexpected demands on our time and energy often accompany it. We might feel overwhelmed, angry or confused by the turn of events and put time with God on the back burner. But in situations like this, it's all the more important to keep our hearts in tune with Him. Listen for His voice. What does He want to say? What truth does He want us to learn?
Staying grounded in God's Truth and praising Him for who He is centers our minds on His person rather than the problem. Recalling His faithfulness in the past brings courage to the present. Surrendering to His ways even when we don't understand them brings inner peace. And choosing joy, no matter what, develops confidence that He's got this.
God is our source of strength, but our actions determine the degree to which we experience that strength. Difficult circumstances and weariness can either distract us and pull us away from Him or motivate us to seek Him. It's our choice. Let's choose to seek God and find our strength in Him rather than in other places.
Heavenly Father, thank You for strengthening me when I need it most. Please help me do my part by living from the truth when I face challenges. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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Can we trust God even when He seems unfair or silent? Find out in our study of the book of Habakkuk. Not According to Plan: How We Can Trust God Even When He Seems Unfair or Silent starts on August 9 in the First 5 app. Order your Study Guide and join the Facebook Community Group!
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Isaiah 40:29, "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." (NIV)
How has God given you strength during a crisis in your life? What's one way you can commit to seeking God in His Word today? Let us know in the comments!
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