What to Do When Life Punches You Down
By Meg Bucher
“…being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience …” Colossians 1:11 NIV
“Mom. Mom. MOM. MOOOOOOMMMMMMM.”
Pick up all of the things. Make the beds. Cook the food. Pack the lunches. Drive them to all of the places. Check off all the daily appointments and homework assignments. Glue the pieces of my tween daughters’ emotional cores back together several times a day. Teach the life lessons, say all of the prayers. There’s very little consideration for what they’re interrupting when they “MOM” me, they just know they need me.
On an already overwhelming day, a demanding and expectantly toned ”MMMOOOOOMMMMM” has the potential to release a floodgate of tears welling up.
The word strengthened, in Colossians 1:11, is the Greek word “dumamoo,” meaning “to make strong, confirm, and strengthen.” It has two-word origins. “Doonamis,” which is used to describe a strength we cannot conjure on our own. And, “dunamai,” describes the ability to be strong, powerful or capable.
To live for Christ we must be strengthened by God. It takes His power. And not for our gain, but His honor. In us, Christ activates a patience and endurance that glorifies Him. Our lives should point straight to heaven. Patience is not possible to have or learn a part from the grace of God. Endurance allows us, not only to survive calamity, but sing joyful praise to God with real gratitude throughout. We know how the story ends, Who our Maker is, and how we have been forgiven forever on account of our Savior. He is the source of our strength.
Paul wrote today’s verse while under house arrest in Rome. Epaphras, the founder of the church in Colossae, had alerted Paul to the threat of false teachings closing in on his congregation. So he sent word of his prayers for them in the letter we read as a part of the New Testament today. The VOICE paraphrase of Colossians 1:11 reads: “Strengthen them with Your infinite power, according to Your glorious might, so that they will have everything they need to hold on and endure hardship patiently and joyfully.”
Our everyday lives can be crushing, and so when we are feeling tested and pulled apart, it’s important to remember what is true. God is faithful to provide efficient patience, perseverance, humility and …strength. Not just to survive, but thrive.
Psalm 119:28 sings, “My soul is weary with sorry; strengthen me according to your word.” (NIV) We often think of strength as something we need to accomplish athletic tasks, or academic smarts to reach big goals in our careers. But what about the strength to get through all of the menial tasks that build up and threaten to crack our confidence?
The punches will keep coming. There is no way to stop them from connecting with our weakest and least prepared places this side of heaven. But they will not ruin us. Like the inflatable toys we used to punch when we were kids, God-willing we will keep popping back up.
Isaiah 6:5 says, “Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.’” Isaiah was leveled by his healthy fear of who God is, knowing how, in his sin, he could not survive in the presence of God’s holiness. Not only can we stand in the presence of God because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we are strengthened. God’s holiness, through Christ, resides IN US.
Hold onto what is true, despite how an overwhelming day or season of life can feel. “My grace is sufficient for you,” 2 Corinthians 12:9 so faithfully reminds, “for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (NIV)
Meg Bucher writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. An author, freelance writer and blogger at Sunny&80, she earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University. Her first book, “Friends with Everyone,” is available on amazon.com. Meg leads/teaches Bible Study in Women’s and Junior High Ministry. Living in Northern Ohio, she’s been wife to Jim for a decade and counting, is mom to two tween daughters, a distance runner, photographer, Cleveland Browns fan.
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