Do not pray for an easier life, pray to be a stronger person.
A poster with that quote hung in my kitchen 20 years ago. I was a young wife and mother of 3, working full-time, trying to be a strong person but secretly wishing for an easier life.
Tired of Being Strong
Fast forward to today. I’m a 50-something wife and mother and full-time homemaker trying to be a strong person but, often, still wishing for an easier life—at least an easy day—every now and then.
Okay. Maybe I don’t even want easy. How about just not so hard?
The “so hard” days when grief, difficult relationships, heartbreak, and “how will we pay for that?” collide to create the perfect storm.
A recent Saturday was one of those days I was hoping for “easy”. I mean, we expect Monday to be hard, right? But Saturday?
- Saturday wears comfy clothes and goes on bike rides and picnics in the sunshine with a perfect, cool breeze blowing.
- Saturday walks slower than Thursday and enjoys a second cup of coffee with Conversation and Big Dreams.
- Saturday catches her breath and counts her blessings as she watches the sunset.
Your Saturdays look like that, right?
Yeah, mine neither. Well, not all of them do, but I try to be intentional about slowing down, setting aside the list, and savoring this one life.
So we enjoy a late breakfast with our people eating waffles and drinking chocolate milk and Dr. Pepper. There’s menu planning, our weekly trip to Aldi, a little thrift therapy followed by a simple lunch, in the car, under a shade tree. All through the day we spoke this to one another:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. I Peter 5: 6-8 ESV
It’s our memory verse this week. We use the Fighter verse app to help us in our commitment to hide The Word in our hearts because “out of the heart the mouth speaks” and we want our mouths to speak life, encouragement, and godly wisdom.
Saturday started out as a lovely day. She lived up to all my expectations of perfect Saturdays. Until she didn’t. The dark clouds that had rolled from the sky rolled into my heart and mind.
It’s like that sometimes, right?
That summer thunderstorm appears out of nowhere and threatens to wash away our best laid plans. We’re suddenly drenched heavy with raindrops and disappointment.
Then I remember the words from the Word laid out on my lap in the early morning; soul food that nourished before breakfast. The underlined verse and two words looked up and written down, break through the storm like a rainbow promise.
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9
refuge: condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble
stronghold: a place that has been fortified so as to protect it against attack.
1. We will have trouble in this life. That’s a guarantee. Jesus said so in John 16:33.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
2. We can’t always control the trouble. Try as we might to orchestrate easy days, some hit us hard. Are we only at the mercy of the trouble that comes our way? Not according to God’s Word. Jesus is our very present help in times of trouble if we will but call out to Him in our need.
Sometimes He calms the storms around us. Sometimes He calms the storm within us.
3. We can control what and how we think in the trouble. Last year I spent two weeks in a third world country and I often feel guilty when I’m overwhelmed and in need of help. I hear my adversary mocking me and my “first world problems” and shaming my escape to the Refuge and Stronghold who’s overcome it all. In those moments I think about how much God loves me and wants to help me. He loves you and wants to help you, too. He is an ever present help in every kind of trouble.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
4. We should stop praying to be a stronger person and pray to be strong in the Lord. It’s a subtle, yet significant difference. Our flesh (pride) despises weakness but in weakness we find that only the strength of the Lord can make us strong.
Only the strength of the Lord can make us strong.
As a Christ follower, down is the new up. Weak is the new strong. Humble is the new proud.
Jesus has overcome the world. He is our peace. He is our strength.
- Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength
- Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower
- Nehemiah 8:10 The joy of the Lord is your strength
- Exodus 15:2 The Lord is my strength
- Isaiah 26:3-4 In God you have an everlasting rock
- I Chronicles 16:11 Seek the Lord and His strength
- Psalm 27:1-3 The Lord is the stronghold of my life