A little strength

“You won’t need that many, this is enough.” This is not something you usually hear from a salesperson, but my customers often hear it from me regarding plants that they are about to purchase. Sometimes, all you need is a little bit and it grows into a lot more!

The strawberry plants that have spread out to cover much of our yard are a prime example. Five little plants from a sweet lady at a local church have turned into a never-ending supply of strawberry plants for dozens of my friends and relatives. We even get a few strawberries when we are diligent about picking them before the birds do! 

Several times, I have decided that the trouble of picking them wasn’t worth it, so I’ve given them “all” away. Of course, there were always one or two baby plants that didn’t get dug out, and now (again) we have hundreds. 

Sometimes we feel that what we have is not enough. Surely those five plants would not have been enough to make the strawberry shortcake and delicious ice cream we have enjoyed over the years. They certainly would not have been enough to share with others! 

Our emotional and spiritual resources often seem equally inadequate. I noticed at the doctor’s office that there is now a questionnaire concerning depression. The “new normal” of social distancing has left many with a feeling of loneliness and isolation.

There is a common saying, “God will not put on you anything you cannot bear.” This may not be entirely accurate. It would be irresponsible to ignore those who are pleading for help as their cares and trials overwhelm them. We are told that with every temptation there is a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13), but is there an escape from the crushing weight of depression or anxiety?

The apostle Paul felt burdened above what he could bear, and was in the throes of despair. 

“For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8, NKJV).

Even Jesus was not immune from grief and sorrow. He wept as he visited with Mary and Martha as they mourned his good friend Lazarus’ death (John 11:35). 

Experiencing sadness is not a sin or evidence of a lack of faith, as many well-meaning Christians will tell us. It is a part of life. 

One comfort that we have when we are sad is the knowledge that God will multiply our faith, our hope, and our strength to bear it. 

Just like the plants that grow and multiply, our strength will grow. 

The church in Philadelphia had “a little strength.” 

“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name (Revelation 3:8). 

That little strength was enough for a door to be open that no one would be strong enough to shut! To be clear, it was the strength of the church combined with our all-powerful God.

We may not feel like we have enough, or that we ARE enough. But He is!

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