God My Strength (part 2)
My son Gareth and his wife Che had their first baby yesterday; a perfect little princess – the first grandchild on one side of the family and my first granddaughter.
I woke up this morning, thinking about my daughter in law; remembering how I felt in those first, heady, exciting days after giving birth to my own children; the mixture of tiredness and elation, the fierce protectiveness of this tiny baby that you’ve only just met but feel as though you’ve always known.
Suddenly a new season of life had begun for me; Parenting. I had my four children close together, and it felt sometimes as though I was drowning in laundry, would never again have an uninterrupted conversation and would never, ever get a full night’s sleep again; I thought the exhaustion would never end.
But that time was just a season – a chapter; I wouldn’t have believed it then, had anyone told me that I would look back one day and say that the time went too quickly! But it did.
What Season Are You In?
What season are you in right now? I write this, not only for new parents but for anyone who feel “stuck” where you are in life. Does it feel as though this period will never end? Do you feel you’re enduring, rather than enjoying life at the moment? Does life seem mundane – a track of same old-same old that you can’t seem to break out of no matter how often you’ve prayed?
If so, then find encouragement from this passage in Colossians – I like the way The Message paraphrase of the Bible translates it: “asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.“ Colossians 2:9-12
“Not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives.” Wow! We’ve already looked in part 1 at how it is God’s strength and only His strength that enables and empowers us. Today I want to look at embracing the season you’re in.
As that passage says, “We don’t have to grit our teeth”, or grin and bear it, keep a stiff upper lip and all the other cliches – because God gives us His “glory strength”. He enables and empowers us in the season right where we’re ‘at’, to, not just endure the unendurable and keep going, but to enjoy – He causes our endurance to “spill over into joy”- as that verse so eloquently puts it.
Are you in a season of mourning? Loss of any kind can cause us to mourn. But even this darkest of times in the human soul comes to an end and, hard as it may be to picture right now, God will cause you to dance for joy again.
“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;” Psalm 30:11
Embrace this time You’re in; allow God to hone, refine and shape you in preparation for the next season in your life. He knows exactly what He’s doing.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Do you feel you’re in a prolonged winter season? One thing I don’t like about winter is the long, dark nights; and the late- morning sunrises. It feels as though Spring will never start, when it’s been a particularly cold winter.
But even the Winter is a necessary season for growth, and though you may not see it, God is still working.
I love this verse in Isaiah “I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness— secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name” Isaiah 45:3
The word darkness here (choshek) isn’t referring to the treasures – but to the idea of these treasures being obscure or hidden – not easy to find. The word treasure used here comes from the root word ’asar and paints a picture of a “storehouse of treasures” that are laid up and therefore need to be sought – but are not lost. The treasures being spoken of are the deep mysteries of God.
God has riches for you – secrets of His Word to share with you, even in the Most difficult, darkest or mundane season you may find yourself in. Keep seeking His treasures!
I always think about the flower bulbs that spend the entire Winter underground, where it’s dark and cold. In the ground that looks so dead and dry, the bulb is bursting with potential new life, just waiting for Spring to come so that it can push up through the soil into the light and warmth of the sun. If it didn’t have that season underground the plant couldn’t grow and develop.
God has plans For You, He has not forgotten you!
God hasn’t forgotten you in this season. Don’t buy into the lie that the enemy whispers into your ear that you’ve been overlooked by God, or that you’re stuck here forever. Remember every season has to give way for the next.
Notice what it says in verse 12 of that passage in Colossians
“thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.”
The ESV says that the Father has “qualified you to share in the inheritance” and also that He has “delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” Colossians 2:9-12
What an incredible purpose and reason to get up in the morning! God’s Kingdom is for now. Its for you, His child, to live and experience – it’s not just “pie in the sky when you die, by and by” (you didn’t know I was a poet, did you!)
If you are in a “winter season” at present, take encouragement from this beautiful scripture: Song of Solomon 2:11-13
“Look, the winter is past, and the rains are over and gone. The flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come, and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air. The fig trees are forming young fruit, and the fragrant grapevines are blossoming.”