I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 NKJV
My dad was a quiet, yet amazing guy. I learned lessons from my him about finances, faithfulness and keeping a humorous humility about ourselves in the face of difficult circumstances. But what I remember most of all the things he taught me was how to trust in the strength of the Lord.
In the last week of his life as he lay in the ICU unit, dad didn’t complain much. Instead he seemed most concerned that I understand how to handle the affairs of his home and if I was getting enough rest at night. During that time he often asked to hear the New Testament or Psalms read aloud, and most of all he loved quoting the verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” He did not repeat those words with desperation through gritted teeth but with a calm confidence that his Good Shepherd had come to lead him on the last mile of his pathway on earth.
In fact, this verse is a favorite of many of us as we face challenges. Maybe we are starting a new job, wondering where the money will come from to pay the bills or are about to take a final exam. Interestingly, the Apostle Paul gives us these words, not as a skill he was good at, but as a lesson he had learned after experiencing a laundry list of crazy circumstances. He looked back and remembered his successes as well as failures. He talked about his hunger pains from when the cupboard was bare, as well as the wonderful home cooked meals at the homes of friends. But more than any one kind of challenge Paul faced, he shows us that trusting in Christ is something he learned to do and that we can too.
The key is remembering that overcoming whatever we face is in Christ. Got temptations? Then we need to remember that we are crucified with Christ. It’s not about us anymore. It’s about Him. Are we in the middle of confusion, and the pressure of unrelenting demands? Then we must bring to mind that we are buried with him in baptism. Nobody bothered Christ once the stone was rolled over the face of the tomb. He rested in perfect peace – though not for long! Are we crossing a storm tossed sea that is about to sink our boat? Then we can joyfully recall that just as we are crucified and buried with Jesus, so we are also raised with Him. Going forward is no longer just about our power – it’s about His. What are the “All things” that you face today? God’s got this! He’s not just in control on the outside of our situations, He is at work on the inside of us as well and will help us finish the job He gave us to do. Then we will be able to say with my dad,” It really is true! I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”