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Monday, April 18, 2011

Strengthen My Hands

"They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, 'There hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.'  But I prayed, 'Now strengthen my hands'"
(Nehemiah 6:9).

I have a confession to make.  I've been there.  I've been at the end.  I've been tired.  Felt abused.  Used up.  Empty.  Ready to trade God's call for...anything else.  Pushed to my limits.  Beyond my limits.  Fed up.  Discouraged.  But, something inside of me, deep inside of me, began to war against this nagging, rapidly moving cancerous desire to quit. My discouragement quickly turned to desperation.  Not to quit, but to hang on.  I began to pray and ask God for the strength to continue to engage in the journey He had called me on.  Though it was one that, at the time, I could not understand, I trusted Him.  Though I had asked many times for release, He had chosen to leave me where I was.  If He wasn't to release me, then I was desperate for His strength.  If I was to hang on, then I needed Him to strengthen my hands.  He did.

Nehemiah modeled the greatest method of dealing with personal and negative attacks.  He prayed.  There were those voices that consistently spoke negative and discouraging words, seeking to get inside his head, to battle against his mind, with a goal of self-defeat.  They were seeking to intimidate so that Nehemiah would lose focus and fail to achieve the goal of completing this wall that had long since been destroyed.  Rather than give into discouragement, Nehemiah prayed.  He prayed that God would strengthen his hands.  To strengthen is to seize hold of, to encourage, and to establish.  He was saying, "OK God.  It's getting tough over here.  I need some encouragement.  My mind wants to quit, but my heart is hanging on.  Take my hands and don't let go.  I'm refusing to let go of you."

How tempting it is, and easy, for us to return an insult with an insult to return sarcasm with sarcasm, and to play our own cards in the game of negativity.  But, like Nehemiah, in order to stay on the course God has charted for us, in spite of the attacks, the negative words, the discouraging thoughts, and the overwhelming fatigue that fights to set in, we must pray.  Pray that God holds on to us tightly, establishes our grip, and encourages us as we continue to hold on to Him.

Don't give up.  Hold on to the dream He's given you.  Hang on tight to the promises He's spoken over you.  Don't let go, even though at times it seems that you have nothing left within you to hold on with.  As your strength comes to an end, tap into the reservoir of His unending strength.  He will not let go of you.  Remember the words of the apostle Paul.  "His strength is made perfect in my weakness.  When I am weak, then I am strong."

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