God gives strengthby Christine Berglund

Purple Coneflower, a pretty perennial that was used by the American Indians for energy, was planted today by my garden wall. I smile with irony as I think of how I had to push my tired self to plant it!

As many others do, I work more than a full day and have a long commute home. I rush outside after getting into my gardening garb. Otherwise, I won’t have much time before the summer night wraps itself around my yard, closing in with only the pinpricks of light from the fireflies.

And then of course, I will have to sit in awed silence and watch them, getting no work done at all. Yes, I should probably have just eaten those energy-giving roots.

The fact is, for some reason I have never harvested my Echinacea Purpurea roots. The drooping pastel petals gracefully bowing around the stately brown cone, from which it gets its nickname, give the garden visitor plenty of visual nourishment.

Isaiah 35:3 tells us to “Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees” (ASV). The New American Standard Bible renders this same passage, “Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble.”

Can we give each other strength and energy? Apparently, yes! It is our responsibility to be there for the tired and weary. If not physically, surely we can encourage the exhausted by our encouragement and support.

It is said, “Success is 90 percent perspiration and 10 percent inspiration.” Sometimes that 10 percent is what we need when we are “plumb tuckered out,” to use a colloquial phrase.

Believers are given power. “To them gave He power to become the sons of God” (John 1:12, KJV). God provides power. There’s a catch. First we must empty ourselves OF ourselves. Belief in Jesus entails much more than a mental assent that He exists and that we have some vague relationship to Him, sometime in the future, somehow, somewhere, over the rainbow. You get the picture.

No, Jesus must be the biggest part of your life if he is going to give you that power described. You cannot call him “Lord” and not do what he says (Matthew 7:21-23). To tap in to God’s power, used here in the Greek as the word we get “dynamite” from, we must truly abide in him and do what he says.

Jesus wants to give us energy and power. “A battered reed he will not break off” (Matthew 12:20). God’s care is so different from those in society who turn against those who are weak or weary. Older people and unborn babies who are not wanted have few people to defend or care for them.

One thing that distinguishes the human race, and demonstrates that we are made in the image of God, is our innate desire to help the weak and less fortunate among us. This “image of God” is fading quickly these days.

Jesus’ invitation stands as a breath of fresh air to those whose last ounce of energy seems gone.

“Come to me, you who are weary and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

Rest. Some of us may never get a chance, in this life, to retire. I’m not too worried. My retirement is quite literally “out of this world,” where Echinacea won’t be needed for stamina. Jesus truly gives us the energy and power to do what we need to do; and in the end, sweet rest.

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