“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25 (NIV)
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25 (NLT)
“Her clothes are well-made and elegant, and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.” Proverbs 31:25 (Message)
As I read and meditate on this verse, I get only a few short words in and I already feel like I fall so short. “She is clothed with strength.” Strength. Am I strong? No. Quite the opposite. I am extremely weak.
I feel weak physically. An ear infection or pain in my hips can completely distract me from being “about my Father’s business”. There are days where I just feel so tired. I give into the desires of my flesh, even when my heart and mind know better. Sometimes it is my battles with food that reveals my weakness, eating that which is unhealthy with reckless abandon.
I feel weak mentally. I can be overwhelmed by fear, doubt and anxiety about the what I have done or what is going to happen. I can allow desires of other people to become my top priority, sacrificing the best for just the good or mediocre. I tell myself that I am just serving others, but that excuse only covers my weakness.
I feel weak spiritually. There are days where I pray and ask God for the smallest of things, yet I doubt that He will deliver on His promises. There are also many times where I do not even ask God my request because I feel it too great. There are other days where I pray with open hands asking God to take something from me, but at the end of my prayer I tightly close my hands and pick it up again. Then I wonder why I feel so weighted down and burdened.
The voice rings through my head, “ye of little faith”. Yes that is me. Oh how I wish for mountain moving faith, faith as big as a mustard seed. I deeply long to pray like Joshua or Moses. I want to impact lives around me like the Disciples. I yearn to be like Peter and say, “Silver and gold I have not, but what I do have I give to you.” I want to see miraculous things happen in my life and the lives around me.
Yet, some nights I find myself in bed cowering under my covers and tossing from my anxieties of what is to come in the days to follow. Any laughing about tomorrow is short lived and filled with nervousness. It’s the littlest things that can drive me to near madness.
My thoughts are something like these. Is that person going to do what they said? I haven’t heard from them. They aren’t returning any of my messages. What if it all falls back upon me? It will be a disaster. I will let everyone down. They will be hurt and angry. I will be shamed and embarrassed.
Yes, I am weak. Look where the focus is in my words. It’s on me. It shouldn’t be about me. It should be on God. A woman of strength and dignity, who laughs at the future is secure in who her God is and who she is in Him. Look at what the Holy Bible says,
“Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (NIV)
Let His words soak into our minds. Allow it to run over into our hearts. Let it’s refreshing life giving water quench the dryness of our souls. May it renew us and restore us.
God makes us stand firm. Webster defines firm as being securely or solidly fixed in place, not weak or uncertain and not easily moved or disturbed. God makes it so the slightest human pains or worries will not knock us over and pin us down. We are anointed by God. We are made sacred and dedicated to God’s service.
God has given us a full proof guarantee that we will have eternal life in the presence of His Glory. He gave us the Holy Spirit to live within our hearts to show us here and now that God always keeps His promises. What a gift! What a treasure! God’s generosity does not stop there. Look at what we gain from the Holy Spirit.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
Look at the order of these words “God gave us”. It is God first. Then it is us. He is gracious and loves us. Notices that it does not say God will give. It says He GAVE! It is already done. We already have it. Relish that thought for a moment. We’ve already got it.
God + me = Proverbs 31 I shall be
God gave us power. Power over our bodies and our minds, to bring them into submission for the work that God has called us to and self-discipline to see it through to the finish. The Spirit helps us to live in love, even for our enemies. We can see with eyes of compassion. We can have peace in the greatest storms.
“Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” Philippians 4:13 (Message)
What is it that is making you and I feel weak today? Is it a struggle with finances and making ends meet? Is it a battle physically with an ongoing ailment? Is it a fight to claim a lifestyle of healthy eating and fitness? Is it the strain of trying to be all things to everyone? Is it laboring to bring unity to a divided family? Is it the stress to fulfill project requirements by the nearing deadline?
Whatever it is God has already provided for us. He has given us everything good thing that we need. When we feel weak, undignified or when our laughter has disappeared, God is still there. He is still with us. We are powerful in Him. He has provided for us in advance, because He is amazing and because He loves us so very much.
Thank You so much for Your goodness and Your generosity. May we be amazed by You. May we be in awe of who You are. May we revel in Your love for us, which is pure, Holy, rich and life giving.
Help us to take hold of the strength, the power and the self-discipline which You have bestowed to us. May You hear it in our prayers and may You see it in our lives. May those around us witness the victory You have provided and may we all sing praises to Your name.
Loving You and Praising You! In Jesus name, Amen.