But God is my strength. Oh, what a promise! I’m writing devotionals this month on scriptures that use the phrase, “BUT GOD”. It’s been an awesome journey. You can follow along by subscribing in the pop-up.
I’m ten years and going into my journey with chronic pain. (Read my story here) Not far into this journey, God brought this scripture to life for me. This verse sounds good when you are healthy and living well, but have a turn of events, and this verse comes alive.
Some would be tempted to turn away from God when struck with struggles that seem too hard to bear. But I found greater hope in God because of my pain.
David said, “My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.”Psalm 119:71
I laid flat on my back for over a month. And after that, I was only moving about because of the large doses of steroids I was taking until receiving my diagnosis. I spent much of that time reading the scriptures and falling more deeply in love with my Lord.
Indeed I found that God was the only thing I needed. He was and is my strength and my song.
Taste and see that the Lord is good!Psalm 34:8
Steps Toward Gaining Your Strength
Accept Your Weakness
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.2 Corinthians 12:8-10
Just like Paul, I had several conversations with God about removing my pain. And, just like Paul, God said, “I am enough”. We talked many times about my busy-ness “for Him” and how I had forgotten to let Him lead in my ministry. He asked me, “If I take away your pain, do you think you would keep your eyes on Me?” Truthfully, I had to admit, probably not.
Beautiful girls and strong young men will grow faint in that day, thirsting for the Lord’s word.Amos 8:13
But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,
‘People do not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
I found I now had plenty of time to read and I spent much of this time reading the Word of God. That summer I signed up for a study of Psalm 119. Psalm 119 is all about the importance of God’s Word. This verse spoke out clearly to me,
It was good for me to be afflicted so that I could learn your statutes.Psalm 119:71
Take Refuge in Him – Rest
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”Matt 11:28-30
My pain and suffering gave me a chance to rest. I needed it desperately. And through it, I was given His rest.
Hope in the Lord
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
… run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31 –
This was always one of my favorite verses. Perhaps because I struggled with fatigue long before we ever realized there was a health problem. But this verse became, even more, real to me as I struggled with my illness. My hope in Him alone has given me the strength to live each day
Look for Joy
And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”Nehemiah 8:10
We often think that the blessings of life are the good things like family, success, lots of stuff. But I have learned that if we take advantage of the troubled times, they become blessings in disguise because they draw us closer to God.
Not too far into this journey with pain, I was introduced to Ann Voskamp and her story with depression. Someone challenged her to start making a list of 1000 blessings. In accepting this challenge she journaled each day at least three blessings she found from God. Soon her depression had taken a back seat to joy.
It’s true, you know, laughter is good medicine. When we start focusing on all the good God has done for us, we find joy in the journey, even when it’s a hard journey.
King David said, “On the day I called, You answered me; You emboldened me and strengthened my soul.”Psalm 138:3.
They say that talking about it is very therapeutic. Now if only we would realize that if we talked to the Lord about it and listened to His answers we could probably save ourselves a lot of money spent on counselors.
Philippians 4:6-7 says Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise him— my father’s God, and I will exalt him!Exodus 15:2; Psalm 59:17;
O my Strength, to you I sing praises, for you, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love.Psalm 59:17;
I know sometimes, it is very difficult to praise God. Our words seem to just get stuck in your throat. But trust me, praising God and singing to Him will lift your spirits. If you can’t do it, at least play some praise music and turn it up. Soon you will find yourself singing along.
Connect with Others
Then Judas and Silas, both being prophets, spoke at length to the believers, encouraging and strengthening their faith.Acts 15:32
There is nothing better than connecting with other believers. That is why we are instructed to come together to worship.
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.Hebrews 10:25
Meeting together is difficult in the midst of this pandemic; however, most of us have cell phones and internet access. Be sure you are regularly attending church and visiting with fellow believers. There are thousands of opportunities to participate in worship if your own church doesn’t offer its services online. My husband and I have really enjoyed the preaching of Greg Laurie at Harvest at Home.
On top of that, connect individually with fellow believers to encourage one another. If you are lonely, for heaven’s sake, pick up your phone and call someone. They might need some encouragement from you and in the process, you will find yourself encouraged and strengthened.
My blog has connected me with so many believers and also believers that suffer from chronic illness. I have met some wonderful friends and we encourage one another regularly. You may not have a blog, but we have so many social media opportunities. Get on one of them and start commenting on every else’s posts. I’ll list some groups on Facebook that uplift me.
Strengthened in Christ,
Facebook Groups that Encourage
- Heart”wings” – A Christian Women’s Fellowship
- Gracefully Truthful
- Medical Musings with Friends
- Christian Chronic Illness Encouragement
- Christian Bloggers Unite