In high school, I remember hearing the quote, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” We learned that the words were spoken during wartime. I would suggest that they remain relevant today. After all, each day as I watch the rhetoric rev up in Washington, I think, well, never mind, I digress. Do you find yourself in a war? Perhaps not with someone else, but instead within yourself? Each of us, individually and collectively will enter seasons whereby we are seeking the manifestation of God, and not necessarily the bigness of God, but instead simply His presence. To be sure, there is so much excitement with the new year. And for me, I find myself seeking to determine when the “times” will come to a resolve. Quietly God had to remind me that the resolve is not based on the external, but instead the internal. I was directed to the lyrics, “You are my strength, strength like no other, strength like no other, reaches to me!” No matter what we find ourselves facing, if we have sought God, and we are attempting to walk out purpose, and not problem, we will have the strength of the Lord to operate and facilitate our times.
What impacts the strength that God has granted? When we elect to walk in selfishness rather than love. Selfishness demonstrates a determination and will to have things our way despite the extent to which they may impact others. If you find yourself on the receiving end of someone’s selfish behavior, it may appear that in the words of Jekalyn Carr, “It’s their winning season.” Yet, whose report will you believe? Their “winning” may be countered with Psalm 37:1-2, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.” It’s clear that the writer of this was dealing with some “times.” It is easy to behave badly. It requires character to exercise self control. We can take assurance that God is working on our behalf, but our strength is developed, formed and sustained as we examine the 3rd verse where King David furthers expels, “Trust in the Lord and do good.” In the “times’ we must be careful to use our strength for good and not evil. Because God has identified himself as our strength, we must depend wholeheartedly upon Him to fight our “times.”
God would not have us ignorant, but He would have us filled with peace amidst storm. No matter what it looks like, He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us during the “times.” Indeed, these are the times that try (wo)men’s souls, but there is absolutely nothing that comes as surprise to God. Our strength gets tired. Our strength gets weak. Our strength gets immobile. But God! His strength never gets tired, it is more than enough for anything we face and it has a reservoir for all we need. Try it out this week, as it reaches to you.