Strong Enough

My Grandmother is my last remaining grandparent.  She was visiting me today and we got talking about what the wealth of change she has experienced in her 89 years.  And I started thinking…

…yes, a dangerous pastime, indeed…

My Grandmother was married in 1945 and when they married they had nothing.  My grandfather came from poverty due to circumstances beyond his control and so when he married they really started from scratch.  My grandmother had to do everything by hand–she would get up at 5:00 am every morning and clean the house before my grandfather or the kids got up.  Then she would make breakfast for them from bread that she made herself by hand (no breadmakers back then), from the milk that she milked from the cows (later on when they were able to afford their own farm), from the butter she churned herself, from eggs she had just collected warm from the chicken coop.  She had to handwash all of their clothes, all of their dishes and all of the floors.  She made their clothes by hand.  Wow–my grandmother is an amazingly strong woman!  And she got this all done in between helping out on the farm, delivering lunches and suppers to Grandpa, and later his hired men, too, and caring for the children.

Since I’ve known her Grandma has always had a hard time staying awake if she sat down for too long (not so surprising…).  Grandma used to call us grandkids into the house in the afternoon and want us to play a board game with her.  Within 2 minutes of sitting down she would be asleep.  It would be her turn to play so we would shake her a bit and she would rouse and say, “My turn again?  Already?”

Now, she tells me that she will sit down to read her book and will wake up and will have lost a couple of hours!  She tells me that it takes her a long time to do anything now.  She finds it hard to get her work done since she says she ‘seems to have slowed down’.  She sheepishly admitted that she has now stopped making her own bread and buys it from the store now (!).

I asked Grandma whether she is frustrated now, when she has a hard time even getting up from sitting down.  She told me that the hardest thing for her is that her memory has been getting worse and that can be frustrating.  She says that she realizes now that there are many things that are too hard for her and many of the things she would have done for herself in the past she now must ask for help to do.

I wonder how hard it must have been for her that first time that she had to realize that she couldn’t perform a task and would therefore have to ask for help?  We humans have this desperate need to be independent somehow.  We seem to resist asking for help.  We don’t want to admit that we can’t do it on our own.  We even resist God’s help when we really need it.

My favorite lyric of any song is from Rich Mullins’ Hold Me Jesus where he says:

Surrender don’t come natural to me
I’d rather fight You for something
I don’t really want
Than to take what You give that I need.

I can’t help but wonder why we struggle so much with going to God for help.  He is our Lord, our Saviour, the ‘Lover of our soul’.  He wants the best for us; this He has promised.  He is the Creator of the Universe and holds all power in His hands–it’s not like He might fail in helping us.  He is our very own personal Super Hero!

Yet we resist asking Him for help when we know we aren’t strong enough…

Strong Enough
by Matthew West

You must
You must think I’m strong
To give me what I’m going through

Well, forgive me
Forgive me if I’m wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own

I know I’m not strong enough to be
everything that I’m supposed to be
I give up
I’m not stong enough
Hands of mercy won’t you cover me
Lord right now I’m asking you to be
Strong enough
For the both of us

Well, maybe
Maybe that’s the point
To reach the point of giving up

Cause when I’m finally
Finally at rock bottom
Well, that’s when I start looking up
And reaching out

I know I’m not strong enough to be
Everything that I’m supposed to be
I give up
I’m not stong enough
Hands of mercy won’t you cover me
Lord right now I’m asking you to be
Strong enough

Cause I’m broken
Down to nothing
But I’m still holding on to the one thing
You are God
and you are strong
When I am weak

I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don’t have to be
Strong enough

Let’s remember that we don’t have to be strong enough.  Let’s remember to reach out to God for His help.  He is just waiting for us to turn to Him for the help He longs to give us.

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.


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