I look into her eyes, I look into her heart, I look into her life and what do I see? Strength.
I know many of her truths, the significant suffering she has experienced across the span of her life. She has known violence at the hands of others and suffered deep loss. Her heart has been bruised by unkind words and she has experienced betrayal by those closest to her. All of these things could add up to a weak, bitter, angry woman and truly, who would blame her if they did?
And yet, she is strong—incredibly strong—so much more so than she can possibly see in herself. Here is what I see:
©She is sweet, loving and has a beautiful smile and warm embrace despite the violence
©She focuses on her blessings despite the loss
©She speaks words of healing affirmation despite the unkind words said to her
©She is fiercely loyal to those she loves despite betrayal
I know why all of these wonderful things—and so many more—can be said about her. And while I also know in her humility she would be a bit uncomfortable readily agreeing with what I see in her, I know she would undoubtedly agree with this truth: She knows and draws strength from the giver of peace and the defender of unrighteousness...Jesus Christ.
Throughout the bible, God reveals to us how to live abundant, peaceful, hopeful lives despite the hurtful things that come from the hands of men. This was modeled for us many times through the life of Christ. A scripture that describes this so well comes from 2 Corinthians 12:9-10:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." 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."
I do not believe this verse implies that we should invite hardships into our lives or even pretend to be glad when they come. Rather, I believe it means that if we know the grace of Christ, He can help us bear the hardships when they come. And well beyond that, that through experiencing His increased presence in our lives, we can then demonstrate His strength through—and even despite—our difficult circumstances.
I know of nothing else and no one else who can deliver on this scriptural promise. And deliver He does...time and time again. And when He does, like He has for her, like He has for me, like He has for so many others, we can step up into His light and embrace the meaning of delighting in weakness. And that is strength. Undeniable, incredible strength.