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So Shall Your Strength Be

Three weeks ago, I sat down and read this verse:

As your days, so shall your strength be.  Deuteronomy 33:25

And this commentary:

A promise that You will support me under my trials and troubles, whatever they are … a promise sure that You will wisely proportion my graces and comfort to the services and sufferings You call me out to.  Do I have work appointed to me?  I will have strength to bear it.  …  Faithful is He that has promised, and has caused me to hope in His promise.
– Matthew Henry

As I sat down this morning, those same eight words were staring at me again in black and white.  So I wrote it again.

As your days, so shall your strength be.  Deuteronomy 33:25

And then I began to think about my days.

2,863 – the number of days we’ve been waiting for a family.

It’s interesting to think about how far we’ve come.  And how long we’ve waited.  And the strength He has given to wait as long as we have.  Even more interesting?  Strength begets strength.

Somehow, when I come to Him in defeat, whipsering through gritted teeth and stinging tears, He inclines His ear.  He bends down low, straining to hear my faint and raspy voice.  He listens.  Then He points.  Look how far You’ve come.

9:45am Saturday – 3/26/11

1 Kings 17-18 – a drought is proclaimed because of the continued evil reign of royalty.  When the drought finally ends, there is an incredible picture of waiting on God expectantly for an answer to prayer.

Elijah said to his servant ‘Go up now and look toward the sea.’  So he went up and looked and said ‘there is nothing.’  And seven times he said ‘go again.’  Then it came to pass on the seventh time that he said ‘there is a cloud as small as a man’s hand rising out of the sea!’ (1 Kings 18:43-44)

I was thinking about this story as we drove home from the coast a few days ago, and the hidden truth about faithfully expecting an answer.  Straining your eyes to recognize even the smallest hint of the beginning of an answer.  At Elijah’s instruction, his servant went back continually.  Straining his eyes to see … something.  Anything.  And he kept seeing … nothing.

Over and over and over.  ‘Go back.’

With a sink in my heart, I realized that over and over and over You have to tell me ‘Come back.’  Elijah’s servant went.  Saw nothing.  Came back and reported.  I strain my eyes for some semblance of hope for an answer to prayer.  And I stay out there.  Defeated and deeflated.  Over and over and over, You call me back.  Take the sadness, Your grace sufficient.  And send me back out again.  To live my life.  And trace Your movement.  Living in habitual thankfulness for every other cloud forming in every other area of my life.  But still waiting in hope for that one that isn’t.

I’ve had a ‘no’ in disguise as a monthly cycle no less than 60 times.   The days like this of coming to You seem endless. Yet You still give me hope to strain my eyes again.

Go back.

Expect the miracle.

Go back.

Increase my faith.

Go back.

Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer.  Each of these exercises  helps the other.  If our ‘hope’ of glory is so assured that is is a rejoicing hope, we shall find the spirit of ‘endurance in tribulation’ natural and easy; but since it is ‘prayer’ which strengthens the faith that begets hope and lifts it up into an assured and joyful expectancy, and since our patience in tribulation is fed by this, it will be seen that all depends on our ‘perseverance in prayer’.
– Jamieson, Fausset & Brown on Romans 12:12

‘Patient in tribulation’ – thus also God is served, not only by working for Him when He calls us to work, but by sitting still quietly when He calls us to suffer.  Patience for God’s sake, and with an eye to His will and glory, is true piety.  Those that rejoice in hope are likely to be patient in tribulation.  It is a believing prospect of the joy set before us that bears up the Spirit under all outward pressure.  ‘Continuing instant in prayer.’  Prayer is a friend to hope and patience  and we do in it serve the LORD.  ‘Proskaterro’ [the greek word for ‘continuing instant’ in the KJV] signifies both fervency and perseverance in prayer.  We should not be cold in the duty, nor soon weary of it.  This is our duty which immediately respects God.
– Matthew Henry on Romans 12:12

Impatience will be sure to follow prayerlessness, but the endurance of the divine will grows out of communication with God in prayer.  The word proskaterro is a metaphor taken from hunting dogs, which will never give up the game ’til they’ve got it.  A hunting dog, when in pursuit of its victim, works itself into full motion using every limb and muscle to follow as fast as possible … no portion of him lingers, not so much as a glance is given to anything else .. this is the way we are to pray … prayer in languid, half-hearted manner may be more dishonoring to God than honoring tho Him; we ourselves may be rather injured by lukewarm prayer than benefitted by it.
– Charles Spurgeon on Romans 12:12

As your days, so shall your strength be.

The root of the original text can actually better be translated as your days, so shall your rest be, with the word for strength literally meaning ‘he rested / was quiet’.

Thank You Lord that You provide strength equal to the days You call me to.  When You send me out tomorrow, for the 2,864th time – may I be kept in perfect peace because my mind is stayed on You.  Trusting You.  And straining my eyes anew for the answer to my prayer.

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