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Strength to do all things

By David Graves

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

Recently, I joined the ranks of those who have tattoos. I have seen many folks get tattoos through the years, and I never gave it a second thought until I went through the life-changing circumstance of losing my wife of almost 21 years.

Suddenly I was a single dad faced with the challenges of raising two teenagers. Additionally, God brought other issues in my life to my attention – things like pride, self-sufficiency and ungodly desires.

Getting a tattoo marks a time in my life when God is doing something I never want to forget. It marks a time in my life when God is giving me the same strength Paul was given and wrote about in Philippians 4.

Paul suffered in prison for living his life in a godly manner, preaching and teaching about the God who loved him and others. He discovered that the strength to endure hardship doesn’t come from a person’s own tenacity or willpower. When all seemed hopeless and Paul’s back was against the wall, God was all he had and his sole, sufficient strength.

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Often we try to overcome the difficulties life brings us in our own power. We say:
“I will not give up!”
“I will give it one more try!”
“I will man up and beat this thing!”
“I will work harder, smarter and longer until it happens.”

We should all strive to work hard, give our best and not give up our faith and hope, but often we leave God out of the equation. Sometimes God is our last resort and we will turn to him only if all else fails.

Paul learned that God was his first resort and only solution. When Paul recognized his own limitations and gave in to his weakness, he discovered that God could take over and empower him with a strength no enemy, circumstance or trial could overcome.

What about you? How do you overcome when life hands you a trial like a layoff, the loss of a loved one, bad news from a spouse who is asking for a divorce, or when you, like Paul, suffer the heartaches that come when we live for God? Where do you go for strength? Do you turn to God immediately, or is he your last resort if all else fails?

God waits for you, relentlessly giving his best so you can overcome any trial or circumstance. You don’t need anything to have that strength except a heart’s desire to say to him, “God I’m giving my life to you. I can’t do it without you, but I know I can do all things through you.”

David Graves is the office manager and human resources manager for Buckner Children and Family Services in Dallas, Texas.

Prayer of the Week:
-God, in our weakness we can do nothing good without you. Give us the help of your grace, that in keeping your commands we may please you and follow your will.

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