When we were young and playing in the playground, strength was being able to go on the monkey bars and do the full length of it. Then we went to school, where being strong meant good academic results, taking on leadership roles, and being active in sports.
In army, strength was the push-ups and pull-ups you could do, and how short was the time you took to run 2.4km. At work, it was enduring long hours and delivering a good piece of work even under pressure, competing demands.
As you grow further, you take on greater responsibilities, face more uncertainties and confront challenges like death of friends, family. Having to deal with financial burden of caring for the sick, continuing to love your children even as they rebel or resist your care, dealing with crushing deadlines as you disappoint your loved ones with your absence. That becomes strength.
And when you age, when you receive that diagnosis of a terminal illness, you soldier on; trying the different treatments, hanging on to your faith; encouraging your family with your humour. That, is deep strength. Strength which you know that kid in the playground who just did a full length of monkey bar will still take a lifetime to cultivate.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” … Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”2 Corinthians 12:9a, 10, NKJV
Real strength that God grants us, is the strength for life. It is the strength that defeats death; that comes from a hope unseen.