He’s Strong Enough!

Denise WintonBy Denise Winton5 Minutes

I am not strong.

I’ve been there – in the swirl and sorrow of the worst moments, in those heavy-laden trials that make you feel like you will not come out on the other side alive, the ones that make you long for Heaven. I’ve been beside others, too, when they almost need to be held up because of their grief. In the middle of these storms, some say, “God will never give you more than you can bear.” Instead of comfort, the grieving feel alone, like God doesn’t know them – or how weak they are.

This oft-quoted and well-meaning platitude has been crafted from 1 Corinthians 10:13: “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able.”

God is wonderfully promising that you will not be TEMPTED beyond what you are able because HE will provide a way out when you are TEMPTED which makes you able to endure the TEMPTATION.

Do you see it? The passage is all about temptation and not suffering! Friend, in your hard storms, please know that He is not promising that you are strong enough to endure every circumstance that comes your way. In fact, the apostle Paul says in his second letter to the Corinthians: “We were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life (2 Corinthians 1:8 NASB).”

Paul says God gave them more than they could bear. So what IS the hope that we have? It’s not that we are strong enough to bear the burdens that come our way, but that HE IS! Paul finished his statement about his suffering, saying, “Indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9).

Everyone who is struggling with an extremely sick child, a parent who has dementia, an alcoholic spouse, devastating grief, or other desperate circumstances knows in the honest moments that they are not strong enough. And those trusting in this commonly spoken platitude try to muster strength that is not there. They push through with, “I can do this because God says I can!” But it’s not true. And God never really said it.

I’ve been there … white knuckling my way through the hardship, feeling hollow and doubtful … hopeless. But on the glorious contrary side, I’ve learned that there IS hope! God DOES know us. He knows we are weak. He knows we cannot bear some hardships. And He doesn’t leave us there! He who has the power to raise the dead lives in us. He is our strength, and He IS strong.

In my most recent hard struggle, my children, who are becoming amazingly encouraging adults, gave me some better words than the worn-out platitudes:

“For this I have Jesus.”
“He is enough.”
“He is strong when you’re not.”
“He is able.”
“You never know what God will do.”

These better words let me rest in Him instead of mustering my own strength that wasn’t there. They let me feel known in my weakness and strengthened. They are based on solid scripture. (See for yourself what else Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1 and many other passages.)

For this I have Jesus echoed in my head and heart after my daughter said it. I made a sign that I keep in my kitchen as a helpful reminder in any circumstance: I am not strong enough to get through. He never said I was. But He IS strong enough, and He is living in me.

“He Is Strong,” by Denise Winton, ©2021, www.dee-lynn.com