He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint Isaiah 40: 29, 31 (NKJ)
Recently, while flipping through the channels, the music on a commercial caught my attention. I can’t recall what they were advertising but the chorus of the pop song they had chosen to highlight their product consisted of the words “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Sung by a young and gifted musical artist to a catchy beat the lyric was offered in a way that at least made me want to start dancing around my living room.
Flashback to fifteen years ago. A young wife and mother-to- be I struggled to bear the weight of the baggage from my past. Traumatic abuse throughout my childhood led to many residual issues that included deep depression, severe anxiety and Bulimia to name only a few. The combination of obstacles to overcome simply to live a “normal” life left me constantly feeling overwhelmed, distraught and discouraged.
In the effort to obtain help from the Body of Christ I shared my testimony many times as a precursor to the question of “How can I get better?” “How can I lead a normal life?” “How can I overcome?”
More than once, taken aback by what I had shared and in the absence of something of value to say I was offered the quick response of “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” This offering was almost always served with a heaping dose of either sarcastic humor or serious conviction. Sometimes, the more spiritual variety would tag along “Well ya know, God will never give you more than you can handle.”
I can still remember the type of emotional response these answers would illicit within me. With biting sarcasm fueled by bitterness I would often respond ” If this is what it takes for me to be strong…I would rather be weak!” Less giving in my thoughts regarding God, I would often think that if He thought He hadn’t given me more than I could handle then He simply didn’t know me as well as He thought He did.
The truth is that, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a lie. Sometimes, often in fact, what doesn’t kill you has the ability to maim, disable and disfigure you leaving you limping and broken for the remainder of your days.
You see, it’s not what happens to you that makes you stronger….instead, it is God’s ability to bring healing despite what has happened to you. In the miraculous way that He does He is well able to take what the enemy meant for harm within your life, and mine, and use it to bring life to many (Gen. 50:20).
As children of God we have a crucial part to play in this redemptive equation. We must allow ourselves to be healed. Although the exact journey to be traveled differs for each one, there are similar pit-stops that include surrender, forgiveness and obedience for all. It’s in the hope of healing that we find our strength. It is in the knowledge of God’s ability to bring healing in the absence of our own ability to make ourselves better that we find that hope. As children of God we are strong not because of what happens to us, but because despite what happens to us we can be assured that Our God is mighty to save (Zeph. 3:17).
Father, thank you for your faithfulness to bring healing to the broken. Thank you for being the source of my strength. Thank you that even when I feel weak, I know that I am strong in you and in the power of your might.