grim (adj): somber, gloomy, stubborn
strength (noun): energy, might; the ability to withstand force or stress
“–not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is the strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy…” Colossians 1:11
We all have to face hard things. Things we get ourselves into, and things that just happen to us. Things that are part of this human, temporal life and things that are part of our spiritual discipline. Things that we feel like we can handle and things that overwhelm our hearts.
And everything in between.
People I know and love are dealing with all kinds of really hard things. Struggling with depression, needing direction, feeling alone, battling addictions or cancer, trying to survive divorce and grief.
People I know and love work, serve, and care for others in jobs and ministries that regularly drain their energy and sometimes steal their hope.
And for almost all of the people I know and love, Monday comes too soon with a week full of stressful things ahead. Some of them are on the calendar, and some will crash in without any warning. Often, we “grit our teeth” and try to just make it through each day.
But gritting our teeth doesn’t help. It actually hurts. It tenses our muscles, causing headaches and pain in our jaws. It makes us irritable and fatigued and even more focused on ourselves.
Grim strength. Somber, gloomy, stubborn, self-reliant, mustered-up strength.
How often I try this kind and end up in a downward spiral, feeling worse than I did before.
Is there a better way to get through these difficult situations, these long weeks, these awful feelings?
Because of Jesus there is. In place of this burdensome, exhausting kind of self-strength, God gives us his glory-strength.
“…It is the strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.” Colossians 1:11-12
There is so much joy ready to spill out of our closeness to Jesus. As we rely on him in the middle of our longest, toughest days, he will bring us bright and beautiful gifts. Encouraging words. A knowing smile. A breath of peace. A burst of energy. A creative idea. A new opportunity. A listening ear. A just-right song. A beautiful sky.
While we are in the heat of our battles here on earth, we have access to this unlimited power and extraordinary might that comes from our Father, the One who has already won everything for us. The One who began this good work in us and will bring it to completion. The One who holds our hearts and our futures. The One who loves us more than we can ever comprehend.
Let’s go into today with his glory-strength, not in the grim strength of gritting our teeth. As we endure the hard–and even the unendurable–we will find joy.
Invite Him in:
Thank Jesus for giving you all the strength and joy that you could possibly need. He is right there with you, making you strong as you walk into your hardest stuff. He is more than able to handle it, to steady you, and to bring good. Relax your clenched teeth into a trusting smile and receive his glory-strength all through today.