Today on Day 4 of The Victory Tour, we will hear an amazing story of surrender and strength from Natalie Venegas.
Natalie Venegas is a Christian creative and California native that now resides in Las Vegas, NV. Her passion is community and her heart is for the Lord. When she isn’t writing for Milk & Honey Faith she can be found spending quality time with her husband Anthony and her two children. Natalie also serves alongside her Husband in ministry in the hopes of reaching many with the Gospel of Jesus and furthering His Kingdom.
We have all heard it before. Be strong. Be courageous. Fight the good fight. Be a warrior.
As a matter of fact. Some of those key phrases are actually biblical and can be found in scripture.
But what happens if you have just suffered terrible loss or have just heard heartbreaking news? Are you supposed to fight while in the middle of facing unbearable grief?
I’m talking to the wife who has just discovered that her husband is having an affair or the woman whose child has
been diagnosed with a debilitating disease.
I’m talking to the mommy who will never hold the child she was expecting or the daughter who will never hug her parent again.
This is for every each and every one of us who has experienced pain, heartbreak, and grief over a loss. What
happens when you have no strength for the fight? What next?
I Couldn’t Find The Strength
I found myself in a unique predicament couple of months ago. God kept me in a place where I couldn’t fight my way through a circumstance and I just couldn’t figure out why.
I had just lost my baby at 10 weeks gestation and I was reeling from the sorrow and physical pain. However, it seemed that everywhere I looked there was someone or something telling me I had to be strong and push through. I had to persevere through whatever life was throwing at me and find a way to move forward. I even walked past my life verse every morning because there it hung on my living room wall. “Be strong”, it said. “Be courageous.”
This is my command–be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NLT)
Every time I read those words I felt like a failure because I just couldn’t find the strength. I felt like God was telling me to be strong, so why couldn’t I get strong?
There it was…in HIS WORD.
My Strength or His?
I had prayed and He had answered.
However, His answer was different than what I was trying to convince myself was expected of me. He was saying “Be still, and rest”.
That couldn’t be what was expected of me. There was so much to be done. So I wrestled and strived for my own way. I convinced myself that I had to pull up my boot straps and fight the pain the best way I knew how. I had prayed after all, and the Lord had definitely heard me. Surely He’d strengthen me so I could fight the good fight. The problem was that I was fighting in my own strength, not His.'If He isn't the source of our strength then we have set ourselves up for failure.'Click To Tweet
God had spoke, I just wasn’t listening.
It wasn’t my time to fight.
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a
time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to
laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 (NLT)
It was time for me to mourn, grieve, rest, and most importantly…it was time for me to heal.
God Forced Me To Rest
There were consequences to me taking matters into my own hands. Shortly after having my miscarriage I decided to go back to work. I got through one day at work before nearly passing out and it was then that I realized that I had better listen to what God was saying. I had been disobedient and God brought me to a passage that left me stunned.
“God has told his people, “Here is a place of rest; let the weary rest here. This is a
place of quiet rest.” But they would not listen. So the Lord will spell out his message for them again, one line at a time, one line at a time, a little here, and a little there, so that they will stumble and fall. They will be injured, trapped, and
captured.” Isaiah 28: 12-13 (NLT)
It was only two days after meditating on those verses that I came down with a terrible case of bronchitis that kept me sick and in bed for two weeks (on top of rehabilitating from a miscarriage).
I knew then that God was saying I needed rest and because I wasn’t listening to Him, He would now be forcing me to rest.
Why God Made Me Rest
After ailing for what seemed like weeks, I was given a strong revelation and it was something that had never occurred to me before. He did indeed want me to be strong, but my strength was in Him. I was to be strengthened in Him.
I had been overlooking something key when it came to being strong. Something pivotal in our walk. The reason that I could not be strengthened was because my strength comes from Him, and Him only. No amount of willpower was going to get me over this hump. He wanted me totally and completely reliant on Him.
So God allowed for me to be sick to the point of even getting a breath was a struggle. I relented and completely surrendered to the rest that He had been urging me to take.
'The struggle helps to keep us surrendered to Him' Click To TweetGod knew that I would need the time to abide in Him so that is why He had me in a place of rest. My heart and body had to heal in order for me to be useful again and I couldn’t do that without being rehabilitated by the Lord.
“He takes no pleasure in the strength of a horse or in human might. No, the Lord’s
delight is in those who fear him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love.” Psalms 147: 10-11 (NLT)
What God Revealed To Me Through Joshua
As my body slowly recovered I found solace within God’s word and peace within tearful prayers. He had me revisit my life verse from Joshua 1 and God revealed something to my heart.
Joshua was the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. After Moses had died, The Lord had spoken to Joshua and chose him as the one to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River into the promise land. In Joshua 1: 6-9 the Lord commands Joshua to be strong and courageous. There were two things that the Lord showed me through further study.
1. The chapter directly before Joshua 1 is Deuteronomy 34. As I read my heart was comforted.
“The people of Israel mourned for Moses on the plains of Moab for thirty days, until
the customary period of mourning was over.” Deuteronomy 34:8 (NLT)
2. The definition of the word strong in Joshua 1 is to be or grow firm or strong, strengthen. To fasten upon, cleave (Strong’s Concordance 2388. chazaq).
God revealed something beautiful to me in my broken place.
I was supposed to take time to grieve and heal so that my strength would be grown in Him. God would be the one strengthening me for my purpose so it was imperative that I trusted in His timing.
That reassurance brought my mind and heart tremendous peace. I didn’t have to do this on my own. The Lord would not only sustain me in my weakness but He would strengthen me in His own time. That lifted such a heavy burden from my shoulders.
“Then he said to me, “This is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” Zechariah 4:6 (NLT)
Healed Soldiers Fight Better
Have you ever known a General in the military send a wounded soldier to battle? It’s more than likely that you’ve heard the opposite of that. Wounded soldiers are taken from the battlefield so they can heal and are able to fight another day.
I believe it is the same with our Lord. He knows what we are capable of and what we are not. He knows how fragile our bodies are and how much recuperation we need.'Don't mistake striving for abiding. He does the heavy lifting for us'Click To Tweet
As much as I wanted to control my recovery time and body, He knew better. He wants a healed soldier whose ready for the ensuing battle. My own strength counted for nothing. My true strength was to be found in Him.
“The best-equipped army cannot save a king, nor is a great strength enough to save a warrior. Don’t count on your warhorse to give you victory–for all its strength, it cannot save you.” Psalms 33: 16-17 (NLT)
So if you currently find yourself in a place where you feel the Lord telling you to rest, I ask you to take heed to His voice and be obedient. Rest does not make you weak, it’s simply a time where the Lord draws you closer to Him so that you will be stronger for the long run.
“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become
weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the
Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31 (NLT)
Do you have a story of Victory that you want to share?
Let me know in the comments below or use the hashtag #walkinvictory2018! I would love to hear your stories!
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