“You’re strong enough to get through this.”
I hear and read that comment often, and each time it makes my heart hurt. Sometimes it stops at that – a little hurt. But sometimes, in those dark moments for which “you are strong enough” is intended, it doesn’t just make my heart hurt. No, it makes it rip open and bleed.
“You’re strong enough to do this. You’re strong enough for this trial. You’re strong, so you will make it through this difficult time.”
These phrases are well-meaning, but for me they have caused more harm than good. Because in those situations, in those dark moments, it was clear to me that I wasn’t strong enough. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel strong enough – I knew that I wasn’t.
Has the well-meant “you’re strong enough” left you curled up and crying on the floor because you know deep down that it simply isn’t true?
Friend, let me tell you: you were never meant to be the strong one.
What the Bible Says About Strength
In the Bible God does tell people to be strong, but He never does this without one key element – His strong presence. Deuteronomy 31:6 is an example of this. God tells Israel, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Why are the people of Israel to be strong? Because God is strong and present.
God doesn’t say that we are strong in and of ourselves. Yes, we can be strong. But not because we are strong. We were never meant to be the strong ones.
How can we be strong? Because of Him. Because He is our Emmanuel – God with us. We are to be strong by resting in His strength.How can we be strong? Because of Him. Because He is our Emmanuel – God with us. We are to be strong by resting in His strength. Click To Tweet
Perhaps the most well-known passage from the New Testament about strength is found in Ephesians 6, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” (vs.10)
Here again we find the word “strong” only in connection with Jesus. We are to be strong in the Lord. Not in ourselves.
Weakness and God’s Power
In 2 Corinthians Paul says about weakness, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” (2 Corinthians 11:30) If any believer in the Bible were to be labeled “strong”, it should be Paul. But he wasn’t. He admits openly and freely that he only wants to boast about his weakness.
In the following chapter he says that when he asked for a trial to be taken from him, the Lord told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” What was Paul’s response? “Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2. Corinthians 12:9)
If we were strong enough to do this thing called life on our own, we wouldn’t need Jesus. It’s not in the moments of strength that our need for Him is displayed. It’s in the moments of our weakness.It’s when we sway that we can see how Jesus steadies us. It’s when we fall that we can see how Jesus picks us up. Click To Tweet
It’s when we sway that we can see how Jesus steadies us.
It’s when we fall that we can see how Jesus picks us up.
It’s when we are not strong enough that we can see that God is.
In the next verse Paul goes on to say, “When I am weak, I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10b) When we are weak, God’s power can be displayed in us. It’s when we realize that we, on our own, are weak, that we can be strong in Christ, letting His strength be shown through us.
It’s a Freeing Message
Dear Christian, please hear this message and let it free you: You were never meant to be the strong one. It was never meant to be you and your strength that gets you through the dark moments of your life.
No, it was always meant to be Jesus.
When you next hear something along the lines of “You’re strong enough to get through the valley”, hold onto the truth that yes, you will get through the valley. Not because you’re so strong, but because Jesus has promised to never leave your side.
He is the strong one. And His strength is more than enough to carry you through.
I appreciate this, Sarah! Yes, sayings like that are so commonly used, even among Christians, and they are just not Biblical. Praise the Lord that while we aren’t strong enough, Jesus is, and that is enough!!
Amen! He is!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told “you’re stronger than you think” or “you’re strong enough to get through this” or “you’ll beat [insert circumstance/illness]” No matter who says it, it always sounds so hollow.
“Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit” declares the Lord in Zechariah 4:6
Thank you Susanna for articulating this so well! I really enjoy reading your articles
It does sound hollow, doesn’t it? Thank you for sharing that verse! <3
Thank you for this article, Sarah! It was exactly what I needed to hear today!
So glad to hear that! Praise God for His timing :))