Strengthened for the Journey
Bible Reading: Colossians 1:9-14
Colossians 1:11, “Being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.”
One New Year’s Day, in the Tournament of Roses parade, a beautiful float suddenly sputtered and quit. It was out of gas. The whole parade was held up until a can of gas could be brought. Ironically, the float represented the Standard Oil Company. Despite its vast oil resources, its truck was out of gas! Tragically, its possible for a believer to run out of gas so to speak, even though the glorious might of God has been availed to him!
Paul’s prayer here is a more succinct version of what we find in Ephesians 1:16-20, “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know…what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places.”
As Jesus made clear, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5)! We are so prone to depending on ourselves, but it is in our weakness that the strengthening and sustaining power of God is availed to us (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). And we need not doubt its sufficiency. Paul’s prayer was that they might see through eyes of faith that which is not readily apparent. Having awakened to the presence of the enemy’s army, Elisha’s servant was much afraid, until the Lord opened his eyes and he saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. We look to the cross and are reminded of the power that worked to raise Jesus from the dead and seat him at the Father’s right hand. That power—that is according to his great might—has been availed to you. Note in the passage that it is a power “toward us!” We are not talking about a theological or theoretical thing. We are talking about a Spirit-borne (Ephesians 3:16), surpassing power, stuck as a kind of supernatural battery right there in our jar of clay (2 Corinthians 4:7). To be sure, the jars of clay wouldn’t be adequate for any good work, let alone function at all, were it not for the animating power of God!
Now home with Jesus, Harriet was a dear friend. She played the piano at Lewis and Clark Bible Church for nearly fifty years. As she got older, her arthritis grew worse so that it became more difficult for her to always hit the right piano keys, still she kept on playing until it became impossible! She served in the church in many roles and stuck it out, with endurance (patience in circumstances) and patience (patience with people), for all those many years. When I arrived, our first month’s budget at the church was $600. Harriet was the treasurer so we’d meet once a month and try to figure out how we were going to pay all our bills. One funny story about Harriet sticks in my mind. In her older years, she walked with a cane. I was walking with her as she was struggling up the front steps in the church to the sanctuary. She looked at me and smiled and said, “You know what Jerry? When I was a young girl, I used to laugh at the older ladies struggling to make their way up the steps into church!” Harriet’s husband wasn’t a believer, and she faced her share of challenges, but she remained so faithful through it all, strengthened as she was by His glorious might in her walk with Jesus!
HE GIVETH MORE GRACE
He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.
His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.