Finding Your Strength

squirrel

This is a week when I needed to hear this message again. I pray it ministers to you too, dear reader.

***

There is a white squirrel that lives near me. Sometimes he comes out of the woods and gathers acorns in my yard. The other day, he came up on my deck to get a drink of water from the dish I leave out for the birds.

He’s so pretty. He’s not an albino, but a white squirrel. I call him Gabriel because a friend of mine said he was the angel squirrel.

Of course, when he came up on the deck the other day, my dog almost lost her mind. You know how the squirrel taunt of, “You can’t catch me! You can’t touch me!” drives dogs crazy enough to claw their way through a solid oak door.

I love being surrounded by trees and animals. It feels like this is the way life is supposed to be. At least for me. I guess that’s the way the Lord made me: listening for the wind in the trees, watching for the animals, looking for the sunshine.

Life’s not always that way, though. We all go through things that feel like the gray, barren landscape of winter; the bone-chilling and biting north wind, the long overcast days when it seems the sun will never shine again.

I’ve noticed something about this point in life where we’re just about to quit the race and just coast the rest of the way. It’s the point where things get so difficult that we start to lose hope that life will ever turn out the way we want.

It’s the moment when the hero has been beaten to a pulp by the villain, and he is just about to give up. Then something happens. The villain taunts him one more time.

The taunt is always the worst one, isn’t it? “Your mama is a donkey.” Or “Your daddy was a coward.”

What I always wonder is, why does the hero wait until that point to find his super-human strength? Why not go into the fight knowing your enemy is going to fight dirty and just knock him out with the first punch?

My friend, take a lesson from my dog. No matter how many times a squirrel comes on the deck, my dog launches off the sofa and gives the same booming series of endless barks as she did the last forty times that happened.

My dog is prepared to finish the fight as soon as it starts. Not once have I ever seen her give a half-hearted bark or give up. If I ever opened the door, she would chase that squirrel until she lost sight of him.

Sure, we all know that a yellow Lab is not fast enough to catch a squirrel, but my dog doesn’t know that. I don’t think it would change her determination even if she did know it.

My point is this: the last leg of a race is where many people give up, and we run many races throughout our lives. Push through the last part and you will find your strength. That’s because your strength really comes from another source, when you let Him give it.

Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” All things! Paul knew it was Jesus’ strength that carried him through and that it wasn’t his own.

Go into the fight knowing that the strength will be there. Trust in your Heavenly Father who is faithful. Know that He will do it, because He loves you, my friend. He loves you so very much.

Phyllis Keels

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