Your Strength Number
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you."- I Peter 5:10
Have you ever made a purchase/investment that yielded an immediate return and provided long-term potential beyond the original cost? Perhaps it was upgrading the tires on your vehicle for a smoother and more fuel efficient drive; maybe it was adding a cooking appliance that has cut the time of planning and making meals in half; for some it could be a type of sneaker or support for your foot that has paved the way for pain-free daily exercise/activities; or it could be a service for the home that enhances its beauty, protects it from undue wear and tear, provides monthly savings from utility bills, and increases the property's overall value.
Almost a year ago to the date, Joanie and I made such a purchase that brought immediate benefit to our lives. Last August, after over fifteen years, we decided it was time for a new mattress. As we shopped we were amazed by the many brands and types to choose from, the intricate (almost scientific) details that goes into the composition of a mattress, and we were floored by how much these rectangular, cushioned comforts cost! The key selling points to absorb the sticker price shock had to do with the "memory foam" and "sleep number". The memory foam contours the mattress based on body type to give optimum support and comfort. The sleep number is also designed for the individual as it determines the firmness of the mattress. It is pretty amazing that now even mattresses are made to uniquely and perfectly fit us.
As I think about a person determining their perfect sleep number, I am wondering what each of our "faith", "strength", and "spirit" numbers should be? We live in tumultuous times, where it seems everything of truth, righteousness, and peace is being shaken. It is hard to rest in the unrest; it is difficult to stand with the storms; and it is hard to see blessing in the midst of such brokenness. In last Sunday's message I shared that we need Jesus to ENTER into our world and change the conditions that seek to define, divide, and destroy us. In John 10:10 Jesus proclaims, "For the enemy only comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." The massive earthquake of sin that entered the Garden in Genesis has been followed by a long series of aftershocks. As we read the Old Testament, we see a people chosen, favored, and supplied by God, yet they continually operate in pride, rebellion, unfaithfulness, and wickedness. As we see the problem's in our world today, we are surrounded by senseless violence, terrorism, famine, human trafficking, civil unrest, political scandal, and natural disasters, such as the damage in Houston caused by Hurricane Harvey. And as we consider our personal cares and worries, we experience the huge weights of raising our kids, paying the mortgage, addressing family strife, fulfilling our job assignment, and so on.
The more we live out our days in this temporal body on this temporal planet, while on our patient pilgrimage towards heaven, the more we recognize that we are not immune to sickness, loss, pain, persecution, suffering, and hostility. In John 16:33 Jesus declared, "I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." Notice that Jesus didn't say the troubles in this world are not our problem or that we are insulated from such tragedy. He says "you" will experience struggle in this place, "you" will experience opposition in this place, and "you" will even experience deficit in this place. But that is not the end of the statement or our story...thank you Jesus! As we STAND FIRM in Jesus we will experience a supernatural, overflowing, and victorious deposit that never fails. In I Peter 5:6-7 believers were encouraged in the midst of extreme difficulty, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your cares upon Him because He cares for you."
Perhaps it is "due time" for you to make an investment into something that will bring immediate and long-lasting results. Now is the perfect time to trade in the worn and used materials we try to do life with and discover a newfound, heaven-made, Spirit-infused, made-for-you faith and strength through the Holy Spirit to bring you into a place of blessing, joy, breakthrough, and sweet rest!