Wednesday, April 25, 2007

strength needed (according to the day)

One of my favorite music albums is John Michael Talbot's Come to the Quiet (1980). I am reminded by his song, Psalm 63 (As Morning Breaks) that we need strength for each day. Each day has enough trouble of its own. It seems like a new problem is just around the corner and that's a part of life. What is needed and is promised for all of God's people is strength according to the day, according to what we face and what comes our way.

This is a strength that is beyond us, a strength coming only from God. And often coming in the midst of our weakness. It is strength found only in God and found as we wait expectantly on him. And it is a strength that enables us to live in his will even as Jesus found strength in Gethsemane to live in the Father's will.

We find it by looking to God in prayer, by meditating on his Word/Scripture and by seeking to do God's will, even when it seems like our flesh and our heart are failing. God will come through for us as we press forward, humbly, in him.

So in the words of John Michael Talbot's song,

As morning breaks I look to you, O God
To be my strength this day

What would you like to share from your own thoughts or experience on this?


Llama Momma said...

That CD has a special place in my heart. I recently mentioned on my blog my teenage pregancy, but didn't go into much detail. I was young, 17, and God used that pregnancy to bring me back to Himself.

I went into labor early, and was in a panic because I hadn't chosen his parents yet. (I was choosing adoption and had looked through file after file of adoptive parents, none of whom seemed quite right.) Now, panic and labor don't go well together. To compound my fear, I was alone.

So there I am, seventeen, scared, alone, and in active labor. A nurse came in, assessed me, and gently asked me if she could call someone to be with me. When I shook my head, in tears, she left my room and returned a few minutes later with a CD player. John Michael Talbot music soon filled my room, and the lyrics in the songs -- mostly scripture -- ushered in the peace of Christ. This nurse stayed with me through nineteen hours of labor. She was my advocate -- getting me pain meds when I needed them and insisting the doctor not perform a c-section unless absolutely necessary. (Which it wasn't.)

Oh, how God came through for me that long, difficult day, giving me strength far beyond my years and maturity level.

And God had a plan all along. What I didn't know was that my birthson's Mom and Dad prayed each morning for God's direction in adopting a second child. They had waited five years for their first son, so didn't want to wait too long before being put back on the waiting list. The morning my birthson was born, they called the social worker to be put back on the list.

I saw that nurse a few years later in a church service, and was able to thank her for being with me through that experience. Through tears, she told me that her shift was ending when I was admitted, but she couldn't leave me, and that the experience was sacred to her -- one of the most powerful in her life.

God is good.

Llama Momma said...

Whoa. Sorry that was so long!! Maybe I should have just written a blog post of my own! :-)

Doug Jones said...

I dig JMT! Great stuff. My favorite release of his was a collaboration with his brother terry - The Painter.

I find it amazing that God demonstrated his greatest strength through Jesus walking to the cross and dying. Strength through weakness - in the suffering servant sin, death and the devil were defeated, amazing.

Isn't also unique that after the resurrection - when Jesus could have certainly made a "splash" and flaunted his power and "rightness" over all the authorities - instead he ascended and turned his ministry over to his followers.

"strenght in weakness" - one author I have read called this kind of power, "left handed power." I like that.

Ted Gossard said...

Llama Momma, Thanks so much for sharing that special time you went through and God's goodness and faithfulness to you through it, through that lady (and JMT). What a blessing!

And it wasn't too long! :)

Ted Gossard said...

Doug, I love "the Painter" as well. In fact just last evening I burned "Come to the Quiet" then "the Painter" on the same CD. A great combo! (I also his "Chants from the Hermitage", etc., etc.)

Great point about Jesus continuing on even after his glorification as he had during his "days of humiliation" here on earth. I haven't thought much if any from that angle. We his Body, though partaking in him of his resurrection, and therefore being a resurrection people, are to be like him in his death in this life (Philippians 3). We are Christ's hands and feet, etc., through whom he ministers his salvation in a cruciform way, even today. God's strength being perfected in our witness and service together as his Body. So much on that to study, think through and ponder on and hopefully more and more walk in. Thanks!

Ted Gossard said...

Llama Momma, I want to add that this is so moving of God's goodness and grace in your life. When all had abandoned you the Lord did not. And he sent help your way. Praise God!

L.L. Barkat said...

I love his music too. Very meditative. And the thought here of morning... hopeful.

Llama Momma said...


Yes. God is faithful, isn't He? I used to be very angry about different moments in my life when I felt like God had let me down, and then I started writing it all down and when I did, I had a paradigm shift in my thinking: suddenly, I saw all of these threads of grace and goodness in the midst of struggle. In the middle of our painful moments, we don't always see God at work, but He is. He just doesn't always answer us the way we think He should.


Ted Gossard said...

L.L., And I need more of that I think.

Llama Momma, Good words. Good for us all!

Sarah said...

My husband and I lived in Japan (teaching English and praying for that nation) in 2005-2006. It was one of the hardest times in my life (culture shock, heavy spiritual oppression in that nation, hostility toward the gospel in my co-workers - lots of false accusation, gossip and generally abusive treatment, and my dad had been battling cancer back home in America, and the Lord told me He would take Him home). I would come home after work and sing a song by Jason Upton "In the place of suffering, there's a God worth worshipping." And I would cry. One night, I went to Jason Upton's website and a song started to play. The lyrics were simple, "I will never leave you. I never leave you. You're not alone." God was singing this over me, and it gave me strength to get through.

Ted Gossard said...

Sarah, Thanks so much for sharing that. Music is such a wonderful gift from God. And God "singing" to you that way in those troubling times and through one of his servants, I will say precious because it is.

I love it when a song comes to me and I start singing it over and over (at work). That must be a gift from God as well. It hasn't happened enough lately for me as I've carried too heavy a heart too much of the time for various reasons, lately.

Thanks again for sharing with us.