Yesterday a friend of ours told me that it's much easier for people to assume that a person sharing a preach - has got that one particular issue all sewn up in their own lives. That they have seen it, dealt with it and overcome that battle victorious, walking away from it unscathed.
But often when God stirs someone to share - it is an issue, sin or lesson He wants them to recognise in themselves first and give it over to Him. We need to uphold them (our leaders, mentors, family) and encourage them to not only 'preach it' but to live out this wisdom.
Today I need you to do this for me as I share this one with you.
Forgive me and be patient with me today - I am at the bottom of a mountain, I must climb and I cannot see the top.
Proverbs 31 verse 25 (NIV) says this,
'She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.'
The Voice translation says it this way,
'Clothed in strength and dignity, with nothing to fear,
she smiles when she thinks about the future.'
I like to think I'm hard. As a little girl I wanted to be 'strong' instead of 'cute'. I would do press ups, to try and put up a fight in scraps with my brothers.
But nothing will show you how weak and fragile you are like recognising how great God is. Because it is only through His strength that we are able to be free and fearless.
I'm not talking about the sheer fact that we're made of skin and bones. I'm not trying to bash your ego by calling you weak. Perhaps you're stacked and built like a brick house. But Shania and I have this in common, getting 'swole' don't-impress-me-much.
So what am I on about? I'm talking about strength of mind, of heart and of character. Things we can't gain at the gym. But only by an open, obedient, life-changing relationship with God. Just look at verse 1 in Psalm 93 (NIV) which talks about the amazing greatness of God,
'The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength;
indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.'
This is where we find our strength. Our ability to climb the mountain, even without knowing where it goes or what's at the top. Our strength to choose a different culture than the one our society praises. Our hiding place when our situations create storms around us. The firm foundation we can stand on when everything else around us seems to fall away. We can find our strength and hope in the brilliant, strong and yet immeasurably gentle Father in Heaven.
Sometimes when we read verses like this it's easy to think,
'Laugh in the face of my future? I can't even crack a smile.'
And my aim today, is not only encourage you but also myself that:
You do not have to be able to see the future to have a hope for it. You merely need to trust in the author of time and know that He will give you victory.
Because this is His nature, He longs to pour out His love and goodness over you. And if you're still unsure of how this looks in your life today, let me share a note I found when I looked for a commentary to open up my understanding of this verse:
'...for though she is the weaker vessel, and weak in herself, yet is strong in him; and is able to bear and do all things, with a fortitude of mind to withstand every enemy...she is clothed with "honour"...with the garments of salvation, and the robe of righteousness.'
We've learnt how to dress ourselves. To look at the example Christ gives us and to replicate his behaviours.
But today we need to...or more honestly I need to be reminded of God's absolute greatness and His never ending, unconditional gentleness with us.
That we can trust Him with our future. We can delight in the knowledge of His passion for us and that He has more goodness in store for us, in this life and the next, than we could ever possibly imagine.
We can look at the mountain and smile, because He knows what's up there and will not let go of our hand on the way up.
'...their bread is given, and their waters are sure;
they shall want no good thing; all their need is supplied from Christ;
they have hope in their death,
and rejoice then and sing, "O death, where is thy sting?" [1 Corinthians 15:55].
They will have confidence in the day of judgment, and not be ashamed;
shall come to Zion with everlasting joy;
and shall rejoice with Christ, angels and saints,
to all eternity.'
- John Gill