Why is God’s strength such a comfort to us? Because we are desperately in need of it and weak beyond description.
Now and again, He reminds of us that.
I had a speaking engagement in eastern Pennsylvania. By the time the plane landed, I was in trouble. My ears were closed, my throat was swollen, and I was blowing my nose every two minutes. Oh, lovely.
When we reached the church, I wasn’t entirely sure I could speak my name, let alone deliver three messages.
“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” Psalm 105:4
Right. My prayer was short and to the point. Please, Lord. Please.
God was already on it. The sanctuary had great acoustics, the microphone was up to snuff (okay, sniff), and the women in the audience were reach-out-and-touch-them close and genuinely excited about being there.
Still, only the Lord could get me through this, and I knew it.
I didn’t just lean on Him. I clung to Him.
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2
“Good morning,” I began, relieved to hear more than just a croak come out. A second sentence followed, then a third one. I was as amazed as my hosts were, seated in the front row. They’d watched me go through tissue after tissue, just getting to the church.
I was utterly aware of His Presence, strengthening me, healing me, if only for those few necessary hours. I would say He stole my breath, except I was breathing. Normally, naturally.
“Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength?” Isaiah 63:1
I knew exactly who He was. My voice was strong, yet my knees were weak with joy. As Susan, one of my Facebook sisters, says, “He is so powerful. The word I want has not been invented yet!”
By day’s end, I’d almost decided I should arrive at every speaking engagement on the verge of pneumonia, just to watch God do what only He can do. The more broken I am, the more dependent I am, and that’s exactly where God wants us to be. As Paul says, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10
I realize this story is minor, even trifling, compared to the major challenges you may be facing right now. Here’s the thing: if God cares enough about our needs to strengthen us in the small, everyday, blow-your-nose moments, just think what He can do in the midst of huge, life-changing, world-shaking situations.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” Ephesians 6:10
Who wants to be weak? We do, beloved, so we can give God the glory for His strength in us.
When have you sensed God’s strength sustaining you? Thanks for sharing your thoughts below. Your words are a blessing and encouragement—to all of us!
Your grateful sister, Liz
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I read lots of blogs each morning. Ann Voskamp’s A Holy Experience is my absolute favorite. What a gift she is to the Body of Christ, because of God’s gifting in her. This, I believe, is her most powerful post ever, and just what our hearts need as we prepare for Holy Week. “We are saved from our hopelessness—because God came with infant fists and opened wide His hand to take the nail sharp edge of our sins.” Ann Voskamp
Hi Liz so nice to meet you, wonderful post and encouraging, I did enjoy the read. Our God is so Amazing!! Have a wonderful day
Liz, thank you for being God’s encourager. Days are difficult for me as I lost my only daughter last November to brain cancer. She left a husband and 11 year old son who struggle every day as well without her. God is sustaining all of us I look for your blogs and books as they bring laughter back into my life. Thank you much. . Linda
Yes stay strong in our weakness with the Lord sustaining you Bless you in Christ
Once again, perfectly timed message. I’m going through a terribly painful divorce and have felt weak and hopeless, even when those around me tell me I am so strong. Thank you for reminding me who really gives me strength. I will never think I am weak again when I remember these words..
So much better to see God’s strength than to try to come up with our own. Yes we want to grow and mature, but His power perfect in our weakness is the life. A recent Sunday when I noticed an all-too-familiar ugly temptation dancing around the corners of my mind, distracting me from worship, and I cried out to God, “Will I always have to struggle with this sin?!” Clear as could be, the Spirit brought an answer in the form of reminding me of a passage: “…that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves…”. Okay God, I get it. Thanks for your power in me!
This is just about my every day! Isn’t God good to carry us through? His power is made strong in our weakness. Such a gracious God.
YES 🙂 every day, every moment
I have a very similar testimony from this week. My husband has been dealing with some pretty serious hip pain. He is also a very energetic pastor, these two do not coincide very well as he was having trouble standing without being on the verge of tears. As he was about to deliver his sermons this week I prayed for God to him him the strength, and then had the pleasure of watching him deliver energetic and passionate sermons. God is so good and faithful to use us broken vessels for His work!
Even more moving was one of those sermons resulted in a call to our new church home. Another answered prayer and blessing from our loving Father.
Awesome words with perfect scriptural promises to back them up . I have found the same to be true , we can do the seemingly impossible if we will step aside and invite God to take control . Thank you for your ministry, Liz, you were amazing at extraordinary women Tulsa and I enjoyed meeting you at your booth as well. God bless you and your ministry . My new favorite saying… TA DA!!!
Awe, Liz. Brilliant!!! No situation is minor when the Lord is included and involved in it. But I hear what you are saying. One of my favourite ‘stories’ is when I’d to return a book I had forgotten I’d borrowed. I searched my entire house, twice, to no avail. Got hysterical when I learned it was precious to my friend. So, I asked the Lord to tell me where it is. (Or take my life, now, Pa!!!) He replied, ‘Look in the gas meter cupboard’. NOTHING HAS EVER BEEN PUT THERE. So, I looked. The book was there. I was stunned. Every testimony we have of His involvement in our lives is stunning, I think. xxx
Hi Liz, Just like the song says, “go on an steel my show”. God is great and when we lean on Him, He does marvelous things.
This post is like breathing fresh air- heavenly air.
I’m having a blow-your-nose kinda day. I will go in the same power with faith in the same Mighty One today & tomorrow to serve the children I’m called to serve! I’m running late as I contemplated calling in sick as not to expose the children. However, I believe He who calls us is faithful to do it… Without exposing them to any sickness but what He’s already healed & we share with them.
Thank you. If I haven’t told you before, your faith & passion & hard pressing in to Him inspire me. (We met at She Soeaks 2011.)
Oh, at age 69 how I have proved His faithfulness over and over. In the late eighties I was in graduate school and facing severe marital problems, as well as recovering from the death of my son in 1985. When I had assignments to write and had nothing but a blank page in front of me, I prayed sincerely for His help and He always came through, giving me the ideas I so desperately needed.
Once when I was babysitting my little granddaughter, we couldn’t find even one pacifier for her to take her nap, which she absolutely needed to go to sleep. Usually they were all over the place, but this time they were gone. I told her, “Let’s ask Jesus to help us.” No kidding, I threw back the bedcovers and there was a pacifier!
And last month God miraculously saved my son from suicide at the absolute last moment. Long story, but anyone can see how God orchestrated his rescue. I’m so glad I was close to Him and He chose to answer the prayers of a simple mom.
So encouraging, Liz. I really enjoyed hearing about your “miraculous healing”. I know, you said, trifling, but, when you think of all those women who have waited so long to hear and see you and all the plans that went into the weekend and all the arrangements that had to be exactly meshed! It is no small feat. So thankful you made it through for all those sisters. And that you could show God’s mercy at work. God bless you as he already has!
Even though it happened eight years ago, I remember the power of His enabling might as if it were just yesterday. . .
I had the privilege of teaching a parenting class at our local prison. The classroom was several locked doors back into the facility and always felt isolated. For 90 minutes I was alone with 32 medium-security inmates. Occasionally, a guard would pass through. Although I had taught this class for over 5 years, I had never felt fear – just incredible awe that He would use me in this way. My class was based on the truth that without Jesus there is not a secure foundation for our homes. This particular day, I was about 20 minutes into my presentation, when the fire alarm went off. INSTANT FEAR. You could hear the resounding slams as lock down went into effect up and down the corridors. I can scarcely draw a breath, now, just remembering it. The were no windows. No detectable way out. Oddly, the men in the classroom, though shifting in their seats, did not appear to be getting too stirred up. I am sure that my face reflected externally, what my heart was feeling, internally. An older gentleman in the middle row – who had not uttered a word in 3 sessions – made direct eye contact with me (unusual in this setting) and calmly said, “Your God is capable, Teacher. Go back to your teaching.” His words galvanized me into action and I began to speak. Not of my own volition, but by the power of a mighty, mighty God. I spoke for another hour and thought not even once of what was going on or why no one ever came to our classroom. When I returned to my car, I could not stem the flow of tears and praise as I acknowledged His power, His presence, and His purpose in my life.
What a mighty, mighty God we serve! !
God is our spouse in life after death of a husband
He is always loving us
if we open up our hearts to Him
He is our all and all our everything our rock our fortress our deliverer~ Yes!
Hi Liz! I felt His incredible peace when I visited my uncle in the hospital. He had tubes sticking out of him and he wasn’t getting any better. The Lord gave me an overwhelming sense of peace even when he passed into heaven.
He same thing happened with my mom. She got cancer and lived only 7 months longer after finding out. I was able to drive her back and forth to chemo and radiation treatments for those 7 months and not get sick with any cold or flu. My allergies didn’t even act up. I also had 3 small children at the time too!
Did you ever find my testimony?
If not,I’ll be glad to mail you another one!
The Lord sustains me daily, Liz, in so many ways, but especially in caring for my 16 year old daughter who has significant special needs. Beyond grateful that He is ever-faithful.
Thanks for this Liz. So appreciate your passion for the Word, and your ‘gift of words’ that encourage me. Your story of healing reminded me of a similar story of mine several years back. I was headed to bed and suddenly felt like I was coming down with a terrible bug. I felt achey all over and was feeling hot. I had to do ‘car pool’ the next morning and could not be sick – and I knew God was my healer!
I started praying, went to bed, and every time I awoke in the night with the achey-ness all over and the hot feeling of a fever I prayed “By your stripes I am healed”. I did this all night long. In the morning when I awoke I felt absolutely normal! Just like I had not experienced the night before at all. I have never forgotten that night and all the many things He’s done for me since. What an awesome God we serve.
So appreciate you Liz.
Blessings upon blessings to you!
I am so thankful you came to eastern Pennsylvania! Your words of encouragement, your humility, your laughter were just what I needed! My husband paid for the seminar as a Christmas present to me. You are such a precious gift. Thanks again!
I thank God for this post and reminder that He is strong where I am weak. Praise Jesus! Because I am weak, but yes HE is strong in me. I used to struggle with panic attacks and a verse that helped me was Galations 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Thank you Liz…Tomorrow is going to be cling to Jesus day!!!!! Your encouragement, together with Gods leading, are always right on time!!!
Liz: My beautiful daughter-in-law’s 53 year old mother, Sue, died of a brain aneurism on last Christmas Day!
Jenna, my son, Brad, and Jenna’s two brother’s, Nick and Max, had spent Christmas morning with Sue and then Sue left to work as a nurse at a nursing home. She came home with a terrible headache and died that day.
I remind Jenna and her brothers that their mother was truly blessed that morning because there is nothing greater for a mom than to have all of her children with her at one time.
Jenna’s 14 year old step-brother, Max, had not seen or heard from his biological father for 7 years. The father showed up unannounced with a legal order and the police about a month after the funeral, and took poor Max away from the family, friends, and school that he has known his entire life.
Jenna and her brother Nick, are trying very hard to get Max back to the life he has had. Court dates keep getting moved and extended.
These young adults are grieving the loss of their mother and their brother. They are surrounded with the love and prayers of family and friends, but , Jenna, Nick and Max are in great need of the strength that only God is able to give them.
Our dear Lizzie, leave it to you to convey how God blesses us through adversity! So many sisters of my heart, young and old, struggle daily with great and unjust trouble in their lives. And for many there is no help in this world, only God’s grace as they go to their real life after this earthly one.
Your words help me sustain thankful prayer as I entreat Him for them and for myself. Then He stirs me forward and holds me as I strive to be the humble and obedient child that He loves, even as I fail.
And I know He smiles on you and blows you a kiss as He chuckles over your wise and warm words that lift our lives.
Oh, Liz, thank you for such a testimony! How precious is our God! What a sweet blessing for you and the women who heard your gift of teaching!
Oh Liz, you are so right, It is in our weakness that we see God’s strength first hand. I want to be weak! As you said, wether it’s trivial, such as a cold (which I don’t believe is trivial for a speaker such as yourself) or a monumental struggle, such as the news of the death of a loved one, or divorce you don’t want, or a terminal illness…….God is always there for us, we just have to remember to call upon him and trust that whatever happens, He is walking every step with us. God is so good, I thank him for you, he has truly gifted you with love, laughter, writing and speaking. I hope to see you again someday. May God continue to bless you!
Oh, Liz, sometimes I feel like a wimp when I ask for help with a cold/sore throat/cough, but with this post, I feel good! I often send up Phil 4:13 at those times, and it does help me at least get the dog out to potty! To go on for 3 speeches, you are amazing! God bless you and keep you going. xo
Thank you so much for these words of encouragement. I leave for a missions trip to Ukraine in 10 days and I have been feeling WEAK. I can’t do this, I can’t get ready in time, I can’t keep up with the pace once I’m there, I don’t know what to pack. I can’t come up with all the English lesson plans and games I need to come up with and I can’t speak like a real speaker like Liz or Lisa, so why would these women want to hear what I have to say about prayer? You reminded me that of course I can’t. But God can! And every time I have done this particular missions trip HE has left me awestruck by what He can do through an ordinary woman. I’m in tears by how timely this blog was today. Thanks!
Praying God will give you just the right words to speak while you are on your mission’s trip to the Ukraine! Be His Words and do not fear. He will be with you to speak the Words He needs to be said while you are there!! They desperately need it right now!
Blessings on your trip!
Sorry I missed seeing you in PA! I think the miracles that God preforms in the little things of life – giving a voice to a beautiful lady like you – are just a great at raising the dead…He is so amazing – showing up in the the small and the great! So glad He gave you a voice to share with women who desperately need to hear His voice! Thank you for being a conduit of His Words in our current culture. We so desperately need to hear HIM!!
Love you! – Kathy
Thank you for your humility, honesty and the clarity that you use in expounding the Word of God. Your candor always makes me laugh, sing and just smile. Was just telling my son this evening how helpless I felt when faced with any situation that forces me to deal with the death of my husband, his father. I see his handwriting, picture or some record and my mind just goes to mush. Have definitely leaned in hard on my Lord and Savior. He is my rock and fortress and I find myself running to him more and more. I picture a small child standing on her father’s feet and clinging to his legs, walking with him and that is where I am. It seems that every step we take together, my faith grows, but not into independence. Rather, I am becoming more dependent on Him and Him alone. Scary and exhilarating place for this retired charge nurse to be in.
I find His great mercy in the dailyness of life. I find the more broken I am the Stonger He is! I’m trying so very hard to leave all my troubles, big and small, in His most capable hands…I just have to stand back and watch! Ah but that’s the trouble…standing back watching and waiting. But I try…….
Liz, you always seem to hit upon the melodious truth of life! Recently I confided my “light and momentary troubles” to my best friend and prayer partner, moaning about my struggles and supposed suffering. Shortly afterward, some friends of mine confided their true struggles and heartbreak with me. God brought me to reality! I asked forgiveness for complaining, realizing my problems were not even problems; just steps along the pathway of life, and God was trying to use me in all of that. HE is now putting the broken pieces of their suffering back together. So today, I thank God for my light and momentary troubles, in Jesus’ Name! He is more than able to fix all our small and large problems at hand!
Great message. Clinging to God as false accusations are made against my family.
I thank the Lord for this reminder of looking to Him for His strength, I do so need it these days as I am walking thru physical pain daily, and the health of my husband.
So I know this weakness will make me strong as I cry out to my God for strength.
We can do all things thru Christ who strengthens us.
Just 2 weeks ago today, I felt powerless as we got a phone call from a paramedic…..”hello, we have your daughter. She’s pretty sick, we’re taking her to the ER at the University Campus”…..
We weren’t close, we were an hour away. Couldn’t get there soon enough. Initiated the prayer team and let God be in control.
She wasn’t treated well there, was discharged only to be admitted to the ICU within 24 hours back at home.
Powerless in our weakness, He is made Strong. He carried us through. She’s recuperating now.
Thank you for your uplifting words.
I was privileged to hear you speak at “Calvary Chapel” on February 28th, when God allowed your cold to be at bay during your talk.
I have been a fan for a long time and have read many of your books.
I used The Bad Girl series in my Bible studies; enjoyed “Thorn In My Heart”, and bought that day, “Unveiling Mary Magdalene”.
I was especially impressed with your friendly and casual visits during your time with us at Calvary and I had you sign my “Liz” name in my book.
My daughter is a published author of a trilogy for young adults with a message of “hope” during a post-apocolyptic scene. She is an English teacher in a local high school and wanted to encourage her students.
She is looking for an agent and I was wandering if you could suggest one?
Thanks for your consideration and for your wonderful books.
I was recently asked to sing at a Catholic Funeral Mass , for my friends Dad. There’s not a lot of notice before a funeral, but this took the cake- not one or two songs, but 6!- and I was asked the afternoon before the funeral! That night we attended the wake, and I told my friend I’d never heard of 3 of the songs and couldn’t locate them, she said the organist could play them. Great news! On arriving before the funeral I found myself learning the 3 songs 15 minutes before the service! The prayer came- Lord, I can’t but You can! An amazing thing happened- I led the congregation in 3 songs I’d never heard before that morning!! That was indeed a special touch from God!! He IS my all in all!! He showed me His power once again!! Thank You Jesus!!
Thanks for sharing this informative blog.
My weakness is my bipolar. I cling to my God every day. Sometimes I am so weak that I cannot even get out of bed and into the shower. When my moods are swinging from pole to pole, I get so weak and tired. I know who I can count on, my Rock. I love Paul’s story in 2 Corinthians 12 about God’s strength in his weakness. “When I am weak, then I am strong!” I am living proof today that that verse in scripture is true. I may not be able to crawl out of bed on my own and into the shower, but with God’s strength, I can!
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I’m catching up on the Bible studies and read this one after I spent a weekend keeping my 3 nephews and twin nieces (all under 6) while my brother and dear sister in love had an anniversary weekend. I know now that it was definitely God’s strength that allowed me to even think that I could tackle that by myself. We had a great weekend and I give God all the glory!