We all know the verse, "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." (Phil. 4:13)
Several weeks ago, my pastor was talking about this verse in his sermon. He made the point that almost everyone has seen a movie, TV show, or perhaps even in their own life, where somebody has used this verse to make the point that God will give them the strength to do anything.
For example, I was cleaning up the kitchen one afternoon while watching some TV. The channel was on a Christian station, and the woman in the show was exercising while talking to her friend. And I remember hearing the woman say, "Even though this is hard work, I know that God will give me the strength I need to continue. Like Philippians 4:13 says, 'I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."' Hearing those words made me think about what my pastor had said: sometimes people use that verse in a wrong way.
Meaning, that yes, God can and does give us the strength to run that extra mile, to not cheat on our new diet, to say no to those Krispy Kreme doughnuts sitting in the kitchen, etc, etc, but that verse in Philippians doesn't just mean those things.
Another example: I recently have had some very challenging things to memorize. I was feeling very stressed, and whenever I looked at or thought about just how much I had to do in the next week, I thought, I can't do this! I just can't! It's too much!
I prayed a lot that week, asking God to please, please help me to persevere, to not be stressed, to give me strength. And I will admit that Philippians 4:13 came to my mind often when I prayed. In fact, that is the verse that sort of encouraged me to keep going, to never give up, to push myself as hard as I possibly could; I knew that God would give me the strength to do what seemed nearly impossible to me.
And you know what? He did! He kept giving me the strength I needed to succeed. So God does help us in those ways, but the point my pastor was trying to make was that God will strengthen you in times of trials.
I have some friends that are my age whose mothers died fairly recently, one from cancer, one from a car accident. I can only imagine what those girls are feeling right now. But I know that if I were to interview them and ask them what has made them get out of bed every morning, what has kept them from completely dying themselves from the great pain they have experienced in losing their mothers, they would say that the strength that only God can give has kept them from completely falling apart, and that day by day, God is giving them the strength they need to make it from one day to the next.
I thought that that point was an interesting one, as I had never thought of it exactly in that way before. But it is so true; God can and will give you the strength to face trials, strength to stand up for what you believe in, even when it is very hard to do so. The point is that God can give you strength in many different forms (do you know what I mean?).
This post is just my attempt to put what I am thinking about today into words...I hope I have made at least a little bit of sense!