Enduring Strength

By Pastor Teck Uy

With all the challenges that we face every day, we need special strength to survive. There are times when these challenges come like a flood, and we find ourselves at our wit’s end. We liken ourselves to Job who said, “What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient? Do I have the strength of stone? Is my flesh bronze?” (Job 6:11-12). Yes, life can be tough, but we should not despair. We certainly can find help from the Lord. The Psalmist said, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).

In spite of our faith in God, we can be tested in our ability to endure. No one is spared from trials and testing, for it is part and parcel of our growth. The apostle James said, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4). Therefore, we should not think that we can be spared from any trials. Rather, we should be ready to face these trials, fully trusting in the Lord instead of being self-confident. The apostle Paul warned, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!” (1 Cor. 10:12).

When things get tough and we are pushed to the limit, we have the tendency not only to trust in ourselves but in something else. However, King David said, “No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save” (Psalm 33:16-17).  This being the case, we need to trust in the Lord more, for he alone is able to save us to the uttermost. Trusting in ourselves will be futile since we are too weak to slug it out against the wicked one. Apart from the Lord, we can do nothing. The battle that we are in is a battle of endurance. Hence, Jesus said, “But he who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt. 24:13).

There are three ways by which we can have enduring strength so that we do not faint along the way. Firstly, we need to rest on God’s promises. The Lord promised: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). God will not be remiss in any of his promises. While there may be times when we do not see his promises come quickly and we get discouraged, we need to press on and not give up. Be encouraged by the words of the apostle Paul, “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Heb. 10:35-36).

Secondly, we need to rest on God’s faithfulness. In the midst of trials when we seem to be losing hope, let us be encouraged again by the words of the apostle Paul. He said, “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one” (2 Thess. 3:3). He said further, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Cor. 10:13). The reason many lose faith in God’s faithfulness is that they treat God as if he is one of us – unfaithful. But even in our own unfaithfulness to him, he remains faithful. The apostle Paul declared, “Will their (our) lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar” (Rom. 3:3-4).

Finally, rest on God’s strength. We are naturally weak, but God who is with us is our almighty God. Through the prophet Zephaniah, we are told: “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (Zeph. 3:17). There is no one like the Lord in power and strength. He created the heavens and the earth and he delivered his people with his mighty and outstretched arms. Therefore, in our struggle against sin and every work of the wicked one, let us “Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always” (1 Chron. 16:11).

While our hearts and flesh may fail, there is hope in the Lord. All we need to do is to trust in his saving grace. It will be futile for us to slug it out on our own. Meanwhile, let us heed the admonition of the Lord. He said, “"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth" (Psalm 46:10). Glory to God!