Such strength, is for me a gift from God. If you could hit rewind button, you would have heard me quietly whisper to God as I straightened my tie and prepared for that memorial gathering, “God I hate this.” Play it back a little further you’d find in a basement room at Emmanuel Baptist Church, in Chatham, Ontario, praying as the tears fell from my face for the strength to speak words of hope and encouragement at the memorial service for my sister-in-law. You would see me sitting in my office moments before the funeral service for a four-year old boy, listening over and over again to the words of a worship song we sometimes sing: He is able, more than able, to accomplish what concerns you today. You would find me on the side of the highway, tears streaming down my face, my heart in anguish because my Janice’s dad left us so suddenly. You’d see me choking back tears as I spoke at my grandfather’s funeral.
To be used of God to speak truth and hope into the lives of others is an awesome privilege, but nobody sees the quiet moments when my own heart is anguish. I understand, I understand why God says death is an enemy; I understand something of sorrow and grief. Yet in the midst of all that, I have known the presence and strength, the comfort and grace of my God.
The Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed. (2 Timothy 4:17)
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. (Psalm 27:8)
You are my strength, I watch for you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. (Psalm 59:9-10)
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26)
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. (Isaiah 12:2)
I have always been fairly confident; too often being over-confident in my own strength. But the older I get, the more I realize, in those times when I feel weak and vulnerable and afraid, my strength comes from the Lord.
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise--in God I trust and am not afraid. (Psalm 56:3-4)