STRENGTH: THE WAY, THE TRUTH, THE LIFE
What is strength? This is a question that for the first 20 years of my life, I would have said the following:
-having huge muscles
-taking protein, creatine and other supplements
When you are really young, I suppose that it is ok to have a mindset like that. It doesn’t hurt, I guess. But in May of 2009, I had something happen in my life that completely changed my view on what strength truly is.
I was driving home on May 15, 2009, back to Vegas. I had just finished up my 4th semester of college at the U of A. I had developed walking pneumonia in April and was so ignorant that I decided not to go to the doctor. As I am driving home, about 2 hours from Vegas, I got a phone call from my sister. However, when I answered the phone, my brother-in-law was the one on the other line. I instantly knew that it wasn’t good. He told me these exact words… “Melinda (my sister) just had a miscarriage.” The only thing I could do was hang up the phone. I turned off my music and drove the last 2 hours in complete silence. The only thing I could think about was my sister and how I had just lost a niece or nephew.
I got home at about 9pm. I decided to get my laundry started, then go to bed. I eventually got to bed by about 11:30pm. At midnight, I heard my mom scream. I ran over to her room and saw her on her knees crying. She had her phone in her hand but not up to her ear. I saw that she was talking to my uncle… again I knew it wasn’t good. I picked up the phone. My uncle told me that my grandma had just died out of nowhere. My dad was serving in Iraq so I was the only one home. I had no idea what to do. I did the only thing that came to my mind: I wrapped my mom in my arms and just let her cry.
The next day, as you can imagine, my whole family was an emotional wreck. We were all so upset. Here I was, a 20-year-old college student having to plan my grandma’s funeral because my mom was so upset and my dad was in Iraq. I was constantly on the phone with the minister and my uncle. It was tough but I had to find something to bring my spirits up. I finally decided that it was time to give things up to God.
My original question at the beginning of this whole article was “What is strength?” Strength is not a feeling. Strength is not a bodily condition. Strength IS Christ. There are plenty of examples in the scriptures where Christ tells us that he is the one who strengthens us. Philippians 4:13 is just one example: “I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.” St. Paul is telling us that Christ is strength. He is the one who empowers us to have the ability to do all things. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” Christ is saying that without him, we are nothing. Without is love, mercy and grace, we are nothing. I can’t help but think to myself that in the world we are living in, we have a lot of issues….
Why is it that when we feel alone, we constantly run to things like pornography and masturbation? Why is it that when we feel full of despair, we turn to drugs and alcohol? Why is it that when we feel broken, we run away from God?
My brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to run to the cross. The cross is where our savior hung for our salvation. Our source of strength is Christ. He died with his arms wide open on the cross so that when we run to him, he can embrace us with love, a love that no other on Earth can match.
I gave this talk on January 30th at an XLT night in Tucson. Of course this is a little different that when I was speaking it, but I still want to leave you with the same challenge…
Let Christ ruin your life. Let him take control of your life. Let him be the center of your heart. Let him be the center of your life. I guarantee you that if you let Christ ruin what you are calling your life right now, your life will never be the same. You will be able to run to the wide open door that is love, that is Christ, that is Heaven.
CHRIST IS STRENGTH.