Can I Rely On God For Strength?

Date: September 13, 2023

I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds. Psalm 73:28


“God if you will just get me out of this mess, I’ll…”   Have you ever said those words?  Or possibly it was, “God, let’s make a deal….”  It may have been when you were in the military, the shells were exploding, and you wondered whether a bullet had your name on it.  It may have been when your car was skidding down the icy slope, out of control; or when a typhoon came screaming across the South China sea and was headed directly for your island.  It may have been when rebels were about to invade your village, murdering the elderly and children, raping and abusing the women.

God, let’s make a deal.  Foxhole religion, they call it in the military.  You know what I’m talking about.  You have been there.  You’ve knelt in that little chapel at the hospital—the one with the brightly polished wood benches, flowers on the table, the crucifix on the wall, and the Bible on the table and fear in your heart.  You’ve shed your tears and gone through your night of darkness, and now things have turned around.  The infection is gone, your marriage has come together, your night of danger is over.  Now what?  Live as though nothing had ever happened?  Or did that night of darkness change your life as God met you and brought you through your distress?

Once you have been there, there are four things which you should do:

First—never forget that it was the Almighty who gave you deliverance.  After the crisis, it is so easy to think that it was the antibiotics which went to work and gave you back your baby, or else your luck—whatever that is—changed for the better, or that things just turned around.  Don’t believe it for a minute.  The circumstances of your life—negatively or positively—are in God’s hands.  You don’t have the nine lives of a black cat.  You just have one, and what happens to you is not a matter of luck, chance, or fate.  God can punch out your ticket as easily as He can hear your faint cry and send deliverance.  Don’t forget where you were and who gave you deliverance.

Second step–Don’t go near the edge.  If alcoholism or addiction was your darkness, give it a wide, wide berth.  After Hop Hadley was delivered from alcohol, he spent the rest of his life helping men and women who struggled with that addiction, but when Hadley walked down a street and smelled alcohol coming from a bar, he would walk across the street, proceeding down the opposite side.  He didn’t trust himself.  He gave himself enough space to handle the problem.  When you hear an inner voice saying, “Just this once won’t count.  I can handle it,” rebuke that devil’s voice and cross the street.

Third–Share your testimony with those who are facing the hour of darkness.  Knowing that someone else has been through it and found God’s help gives those facing trials hope and help.  Paul wrote, “No temptation overtaken you that is not common to man.  God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).  That’s the good news we must share.

Finally, when God has brought you through your night of darkness, live for the Lord, and realize He gave you back your life twice.  Wise is the man or woman who knows that the Lord has been His strength and deliverer and then walks in the light of His Word.

One of the greatest tragedies is to focus your strength, rather than His.

Resource reading: Psalm 73.