This Day’s Thought From The Ranch- Need Strength?

This Day's Thought from The Ranch


by Eric Elder


Sometimes people will quote a famous Psalm and say, “The Lord is my strength.” But what does that mean? How can you “draw strength” from the Lord? What steps can you take to really get the strength you need from Him to go through whatever you’re going through today?

Here are three things you can do to “draw strength” from Him.

1) Admit your weakness. This may seem obvious, but it’s not always easy. You may think you’re strong. You may think you can do it on your own. But the truth is, we could all use a little more help, no matter how big or strong we might be.

I was at a practice yesterday for the Nutcracker Ballet, which my daughter and I–and several others fathers and daughters–are going to be performing in December. At one point during the show, when the Rat Queen dies, two of the fathers need to pick her up and carry her off the stage, holding her high above their heads. During practice, two of the biggest and strongest men in the show went to pick up the Rat Queen. But after lifting her to chest height and then trying to make the transition to hoist her above their heads, her feet went higher than her head, and they nearly lost their grip.

The choreographer asked if perhaps it would be safer and easier if a third man joined the other two on stage.”Yes!” agreed the two men. As big and strong as they were, they knew they needed help, as the move simply required more agility than they were able to achieve on their own. A third man joined the other two on stage, and the next time they tried to lift the Rat Queen over their heads, they were able to do it easily and safely, to everyone’s benefit and thankfulness (especially the Rat Queen’s!)

No matter how big and strong you may be, don’t be surprised if life throws something at you that puts you in over your head. To draw strength from the Lord, you have to first admit your weakness.

2) Ask for help. Again, this may seem obvious, but it’s not easy to ask for help, either. It’s one thing to admit your weakness to yourself, but it takes an extra step of courage to admit it to someone else.

King David was strong. The Bible says he fought bears and even one of the biggest men in the Bible, Goliath–and won. But even David asked God for help. Psalm 28 records David as saying:

“To You I call, O LORD my Rock; do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if You remain silent, I will be like those who have gone down to the pit. Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward Your Most Holy Place” (Psalm 28:1-2).

David asked for help, and God answered Him. By the end of the same Psalm, David said:

“Praise be to the LORD, for He has heard my cry for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped” (Psalm 28:6-7a).

Admitting your weakness is a good first step to getting God’s strength. Asking for help is a good second one. But there’s a third step that really makes all the difference.

3) “Lean on” the Lord. God is more than happy to help you take some of the weight off your shoulders, but you have to lean on Him to let Him do it.

When you lean to the left, your weight shifts to your left leg; when you lean to the right, your weight shifts to the right leg. When you “lean on” the Lord, you need to shift your weight, too. But how do you do that?

I was in Turkey earlier this year and found a fantastic piece of driftwood along the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea. This stick was nearly as tall as me and 1-1/2 to 2 inches in diameter, yet it was surprisingly lightweight and easy to carry. But in order to make use of it as I climbed up and down the rocky hills along the coast, I had to lean on it, shifting my weight from my own legs and onto the makeshift staff itself.

The staff didn’t help me if I just carried it by my side. And it didn’t help when I just set it on the ground with every step I took. It only helped me when I shifted my weight from myself and onto it, transferring my weight from my own legs and onto the staff; only then was I able to gain the advantage of having this “third leg” help me up the hills.

Remembering that piece of driftwood is a visual reminder for me whenever I need the strength to do something I know I can’t do on my own. I know I can “lean on” the Lord, shifting the weight of my burden onto Him.

It’s amazing how making that mental shift noticeably lifts the weight off of me, transferring it onto Him, thereby giving me a rush of strength–God’s strength–in the process!

How do I draw strength from the Lord? I admit my weakness. I ask for His help.  Then I lean on Him, transferring the weight of my burden onto Him, thereby getting the rush of strength to do what I could never possibly do without Him.

Then, like King David, I’m able to say:

“Praise be to the LORD, for He has heard my cry for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped” (Psalm 28:6-7a).

For what do you need God’s strength today? Admit your weakness. Ask God for help. Then lean on the Lord, transferring the weight of your burden onto Him.

Will you pray with me?

Father, thank You for being so much bigger and stronger than we are. Thank You for wanting to help us through this life. Thank You for loving us so much that You don’t want to see us crushed under the weight of whatever life throws our way. Father, we admit we are weak. We admit that things sometimes overwhelm us. We admit that we need Your help. Please help us! We call out to You for mercy and help, lifting our hands, as King David did, to Your Holy Place. Help us to transfer the weight of our burdens to you, letting go of those things that are holding us back, weighing us down or filling us with despair. Help us to lean on You, to put our full weight on You, so that we can feel and experience the rush of Your strength as we do. Lord, thank You for being our strength and our shield. Our hearts trust in You, and we are so thankful for Your help. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

P.S. I hope this message has been helpful! Starting next week, I’ll begin posting a special story for Christmas that my wife and I finished writing three years ago this week, just days before she passed from this life to the next.  The story is called “St. Nicholas: The Believer,” and it’s a new story for Christmas based on the old story of St. Nicholas.

I’ve posted this story the last two years in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and I’ve heard back from so many of you that it’s been such a help as you prepare your hearts for the holidays that I want to do it again.

What’s new this year is that I’ll also be including a few pictures and short videos that I shot on location in Turkey earlier this year, when my daughter and I went to visit the places where the real-life Nicholas lived and ministered, way back in the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D.

Here’s a sneak peek from the coast of Nicholas’s hometown of Patara (today known as Gelemish), on the southern edge of Turkey along the Mediterranean Sea (taken by my daughter, Makari).

Cliffs at Patara, Turkey, taken by Makari Elder

Our trip was both fascinating and inspiring, and I’m looking forward to sharing more with you in the weeks ahead. Here’s a short video I took of the place where I used that piece of driftwood to hike up and down the rocky coastline. (Take a look at that rugged coast and you can see why that driftwood was so helpful in hiking through those hills. You can see that piece of driftwood on the ground at the bottom right of the screen near the end of this video.)

Click to play video of Patara Coastline

Click here to see the video of the Patara Coastline

I’m looking forward to sharing more with you next week!

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