Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Superhero Verse Revisited

I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.  Phil. 4:13
This is probably the second most popular Bible verse after John 3:16.  Everybody loves to talk about how we can do all things through Christ Jesus.  It’s the superhero verse!  I can do all things!  Some things?  No, ALL things!  Unfortunately, I don’t think the Apostle Paul was telling us we could leap over tall buildings or stop speeding bullets if we had Jesus in our hearts.  I don’t think he had winning American Idol or being the next Pulitzer prize-winning author in mind either.  When you read the verse in context, you see it is the centerpiece of a passage about how he found it possible to face any circumstance no matter how difficult.  Facing hunger and need in the strength Jesus gave him – that is what Paul was actually talking about.  I don’t know about you, but this is not exactly the way I want to give glory to God.  Being hungry is not my gifting - just ask my family!  And what about this whole “need” thing.  I thought God had promised to meet all our needs according to His riches in glory.  That’s right here in the same chapter, down in verse 19!  Is it possible that He would allow us to be in need?  Is it possible that His provision might be giving us the strength to bear being in need instead of actually giving us the things we need?  Is it possible that God defines our needs differently than we do? 
We’re in deep water, now, aren’t we?  And it looks like we’re sailing straight for that lonely place where we cry, “God, I don’t understand this!  It’s not supposed to be this way!  What are You doing?  Are You still listening?  Don’t You care?”
This is the place where many of us find ourselves today. It is at this point that Jesus will meet us with His strength.  We may be crying, “Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief!” but we have to know that He loves us with an everlasting love.  He sees the fulfillment of all the longings of our hearts.  He knows the value of every tear we shed and every hardship we endure, and He tells us it is not in vain.  Just as surely as He suffered with a purpose, every moment we live can mean something if we live it surrendered to Him. 
Abba Father, keep us faithful even when our flesh falters and our hearts fail.  Let Your Spirit rise up again within us and enable us to praise You no matter what.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

1 comment:

  1. Jennifer, this was the exact conversation I had with the girls that I do a weekly Bible study with in jail. This verse is misused so much. We used it to get us to the big places and things we "WANT" to happen in our lives. We do not use it to help us face the ordinary or difficult every day things that God has in store for us. Like being in jail another 6 months because our plea did not go through. Thanks for sharing.......it is a blessing!