Unexpected Strength

OPENING PRAYER

God, sometimes I feel afraid, vulnerable or deficient. Help me to shift my heart and focus onto You, to gain Your perspective.

 

Read: HEBREWS 11:32–40

32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

 

Reflect: IS THERE A CURRENT SITUATION HOLDING YOU IN FEAR? HOW CAN YOU TRUST GOD WITH IT?

Like me, you may be left with a sense of awe or may feel rather inadequate compared to the dramatic examples of the believers persecuted for their faith in the final verses of Hebrews 11. But let’s not forget that it simply records ordinary men and women with faults and failings, just like you and me.

If there is any difference between them and us, it’s that they didn’t let felt weakness stop them trusting in who God is. And so they were faithful in spreading the message of Jesus, no matter their shortcomings, or the hardships, risks and consequences involved. It was this trusting, willing, available, enduring and persevering faith that God commended.

We can cower before our weaknesses—emotional, physical, mental or practical—letting them dictate what we say and do. Or else we can believe in the character and purpose of God, trusting his power to equip us as his ambassadors.

Paul realized that weakness made him more dependent on God, and consequently more fruitful (2 Cor. 12:7–10). May that encourage us to live out our faith in action too.

 

APPLY

Read a story of one of the people of faith mentioned in this passage. How can you take action from their example?

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord, I often feel inadequate to do what You have asked of me, but You, Jesus, are my strength, peace and provision.

 

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
 

Terry Schneider