I’ve always been a high-energy person. When I was a boy my mother often said, “David Paul, where do you get all that energy?” — not in admiration, but in frustrated exhaustion.
In high school, I sang in the choir, played in the band, played baseball and basketball, and ran track. I went to college on a basketball scholarship, carried a full class load, and worked at two different radio stations during my junior and senior years.
While attending seminary in Dallas, I worked as a dockhand. Every weekend my wife, Donna, and I drove to Fort Worth to serve as interns at the Northwest Bible Church. Somehow, I managed to play basketball in an industrial league in my spare time.
After seminary, we moved to Haddon Heights, New Jersey, and served the youth of the Baptist church in a frenetic seven-day-a-week commitment. Two years later we followed the direction of the Lord to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where alongside seven families we planted the Blackhawk Baptist Church. Ask anyone who’s started a church, and they’ll probably tell you it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever done. Donna and I would agree.
In 1981, I accepted the call to San Diego to take the reins of the church pastored by Dr. Tim LaHaye. But it wasn’t just a church. It was also a primary and secondary school system. It was one church in three locations, and at that time serious plans were underway for a retirement center. I was involved in all of it, attending board and staff meetings and preaching five times every weekend. I always seemed to have the energy I needed for each assignment. I don’t remember feeling tired because I never needed much sleep.
But on September 26, 1994, everything changed. I was diagnosed with stage four lymphoma and immediately went into a protocol of chemical treatment.
What I remember most was the weakness and profound fatigue the medicines inflicted on my system. No matter how much I slept, by 9:00 a.m. I wanted to go back to bed. I went from being a high-energy guy who never stopped, to being constantly fatigued, confused, and yes, frightened by this weakened state in which I found myself.
Never before had I understood what it felt like to be weak.
On the first Sunday after completing the stem cell therapy that God used to cure me of cancer, I struggled to prepare myself to address our congregation for the first time in eight weeks. I was doing okay until our choir began singing the song “Total Praise,” by Richard Smallwood. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard that song, but on this day it affected me deeply. The words, which praise God for His strength, grabbed hold of my heart.
As I sat there on the front row, I began to cry. I knew God was the One who had strengthened me in my recovery from cancer. Almighty God was the source of my strength. He was the strength of my life.
This is the truth of Scripture. Our God is an awesome God — a God of ultimate strength.
The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people. Blessed be God! — Psalm 68:35
Trust in the Lord forever, for in… the Lord is everlasting strength. — Isaiah 26:4
If God is your strength, and yet within you there is weakness, what do you do? Just believing what the Bible says about the might and power of God doesn’t overcome weakness. The apostle James reminds us that “even the demons believe – and tremble! — James 2:19
The great truth is this: You don’t have to beg God for strength, and you don’t have to look for strength. God is looking to give His strength to those who need it and will receive it!
So how do we overcome our weakness with His strength?
Let me tell you the incredible truth I have learned: God has promised to give us His strength!
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. — Isaiah 40:28-29, emphasis added
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. — Isaiah 41:10, emphasis added
If you translate these promises from the Old Testament into the language of the New Testament, you hear the apostle Paul exalting,
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. — Philippians 4:13
God has all the strength you’ll ever need. And God desires to make His strength available to you.
Excerpted with permission from Overcomer by Dr. David Jeremiah, copyright David P. Jeremiah.
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Happy New Years Eve! This is the perfect day to forget what lies behind and strain forward to what is ahead pressing on toward the goal (Philippians 3:13-14)… in God’s strength, not our own. He will empower us. He will give us the strength we need for this beautiful, hopeful, promise-filled, fresh new year! Amen! Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We would love to hear from you about Christ Jesus who is our strength! ~ Devotionals Daily