When strength is all but gone, when its existence is a mere flicker, then what? Where to now? To quote two year olds everywhere, “Why?”
We sleep, we wake, we eat, we work, if we’re lucky or smart, we play. That’s it. That’s the balance. As long as we stay in that routine, we are strong! In balance I find my strength.
Until the balance shifts.
Less work. Little sleep. Too much eat. Less play.
Strength attempts to hold on. It reaches with all that is within. Sometimes it can grasp that one thing, that needed touchstone. Sometimes, there is no strength for grasping. Where to now? Where DO we go when our strength is out of reach?
We move beyond strength
When we lose a loved one…we move beyond strength
When we are hit by crisis…we move beyond strength
When we experience deep disappointment…we move beyond strength
When our strength is but a raspy breath, we still breathe. In, hold, out. We rest. We rely. We let another hold our hope…we move beyond strength
Too often these words from Ecclesiastes 4 ~ The Message ~ reflect my thoughts:
“1-3 Next I turned my attention to all the outrageous violence that takes place on this planet—the tears of the victims, no one to comfort them; the iron grip of oppressors, no one to rescue the victims from them… “
Where is Strength? As the cord is fraying, as the hold is weakening, as I cry out for help, there comes a reminder. We lean in. We let go, rest, gain strength from others. We wait there. There we restore.
The hope: (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
“By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.”
This morning I woke up with the song “Worn” by 10th Avenue North playing through my ear buds. (yes, I sleep with ear buds – don’t ask). Words of strength. Pleas rising from weariness. Just enough strength to cry for help. Help for all.
Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn
My own life is well. I’m fine. Other than navigating my new work routine, which has been interesting, life has great moments. Yet, that great has been touched by tragedy. Not my own, but that of friends. This is cliche, but I suppose that as we age we notice death more often. And then I’m back to wondering, ‘Where does strength come from?’ How do I reach beyond strength?
Psalm 121 ~ The Message
I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. He won’t let you stumble, your Guardian God won’t fall asleep. Not on your life! Israel’s Guardian will never doze or sleep. God’s your Guardian, right at your side to protect you – Shielding you from sunstroke, sheltering you from moon stroke. God guards you from every evil, he guards your very life. He guards you when you leave and when you return, he guards you now, he guards you always.
I know this to be true for me. When I have moved beyond strength I am reminded that it is He who guards me. Sometimes strength is found in the stillness that is Him. Sometimes it’s weaved within the cords of friendship.
For those I know who have recently suffered tragic loss you are not alone. At your core He is there. Beyond that, we, your friends, are there. We hold your hope. We rejoice as you move back into the land of the living. We are part of your three-stranded rope!
For the many I don’t know but have read of your devastating loss, I am committed to holding you in my prayers. Your loss is not unnoticed. I guess the message for me is that Redemption does win. I need to remind myself of that.
Songs rising out of ashes…powerful melodies of healing. This is truth. This is hope.
This is beyond strength!
We were made for relationship. May we be willing to share our strength with those who have for the moment moved beyond their own?