Friday, August 16, 2013

From Strength to Strength

They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
-Psalm 84:7

This verse was part of the psalm in our Bible study this morning.  It spoke to me for a variety of reasons. First, it reminded me that God is my strength.  Nehemiah 8:10 has long been one of the verses that I rely on for reassurance and encouragement. 

Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks,
and send some to those who have nothing prepared. 
This day is sacred to our Lord.  Do not grieve,
for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

To me, this verse is one to live by.  Enjoy what you've been given, share with others, honor God, be glad and rely on Him.  If only I could manage to do this every single day, all day long.  Whether I succeed for fail I have the reassurance that the joy of the Lord is my strength.  Not my own joy.  God's.  The really great part is that God's joy is never ending.  It is eternal.  God's joy will never ebb.  It will never be exhausted.  This means that when I choose to pay attention and allow God's joy to fill me, my strength is more than enough for the tasks God has set before me.  

 The second thing that the Psalm 84:7 reminded me of is that God doesn't just set us to wander through life.  He has a plan.  He has prepared our way, right down the rest stops.  The psalm is talking about taking a trip, a pilgrimage, and how the travelers move from one good resting spot to the next, strength to strength.  They aren't left to sleep in a valley inhabited by thieves.  They don't spend their nights in want.  They move from strength to strength.  Not only is God my strength but he will provide places of strength.  I equate strength to strength with church on Sunday, my daily Bible study, conversations with family and friends, beautiful views, delicious food, moments of grace.  God has designed our world to refresh and renew us.  He puts people, places, circumstances, and opportunities in our world that serve as a strength for us.  A place to stop and enjoy and give thanks.  A place to rest and renew and leave refreshed and ready to continue the journey.  Recently, I've had so many strengths.  A talk with a new friend at a picnic table as the sky grew dark.  Laughter and heart sharing with old friends.  Prayer and connection with Rob in the morning quiet.  Breakfast with my parents. Walks and swim time with my children.  Conversation with a room full of mothers as they face the challenge transitioning their precious children into dynamic adults.  Sunday morning worship.  Strength to strength.

Finally, I am so thankful that this verse reminds me of the goal.  I am on a journey.  These stopping points, wonderful blessings that they are, are just places to rest.  The journey is long but I will be traveling from strength to strength.  I am certain I will be able to complete the journey.  I pray that along the way I will be God's place of rest and renewal for others.  The thought that I find astounding is that as precious as each of these strengths is my destination out shines them all.  It's hard to get my head around.  But then so is God and God is my destination.

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