"I Want You To Arise!"
"Our body is not made of iron. Our strength is not that of a stone. Live and hope in the Lord."
Clare of Assisi
Today, no matter the challenge I face, will I ask God to give me His strength so I am able, in His power, to arise and see what He has "established" for my life?
"Arise, my soul, arise, it is good to rejoice and join the angels' praises, it is our health and strength to share in God's own feast."
Elizabeth of Schönau
"Blessed, happy, fortunate, to be envied is the (woman) whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. Passing through the Valley of Weeping, she makes it a place of springs…she goes from strength to strength, increasing in victorious power."
Psalm 84: 5-7
As I have shared before, several years ago, my husband Jim and I were hit head-on by a drunk driver who was trying to kill himself and had been dared by gang friends to, "take somebody else out with you." While he succeeded in taking his own life, Jim and I survived, thanks to the mercy of God, and the prayers of thousands of people.
However, the massive injuries we sustained have left us both with lifelong disabilities and the need throughout the rest of our lives for the skill of physical therapists who help us work with the muscular and orthopedic injuries we sustained.
It is working with different physical therapists where I have learned three distinct lessons about "strength," which is the characteristic that is at the heart of our devotional today.
After going through the valley of trouble and falling down in failure and discouragement before God, Joshua was given this command from his Father in heaven, "Arise!" God said to His despairing child, "Get up. Stand up."
As we studied earlier, God promised to take Joshua and the children of Israel through His door of hope. Then God said that when they went through His door of hope, they would have nothing to fear and should not despair or break down. He was their God.
This leads to the next thing God told Joshua. "It is time to Arise! It is time to stand up!"
But, when you are weak and your spiritual muscles are worn out, it's impossible to arise or stand up. This is where my personal experience in rehabilitating my physical legs and arms has helped me understand how God rehabilitates my spiritual legs and arms.
What I learned from my first physical therapist are three things. First, she knew everything about my case. She read about all my injuries. She came in to my room and did a personal assessment of my capabilities and all difficulties. She knew my situation, inside and out. Second, she told me not to rely on my own strength. She told me not to try to do exercises without her oversight and approval. She watched everything I was doing, always careful to note if the pressure was too great and causing me too much pain. And third, she informed me that when I first moved from the bed into a wheelchair, I wasn't to use my strength, I was to use hers. My physical therapist became the strength and power I needed in my weakness to slide myself across a wooden board from the bed into the wheelchair. And when, after almost 3 months, I stood for the first time, and took my first steps, the physical therapist said, "I'm walking by you. I have you harnessed tightly and my hand is holding that harness where you can't even see and I'll make certain you won't fall down."
This is exactly what God did for Joshua and the children of Israel and it is what He willingly does for you and me if we will, like Joshua, give Him our fears and our despair. Our Father says to us, "I know everything about you, inside and out. I know you like nobody else. Don't try to arise on your own, but instead, rely on my strength. I'm holding on to you in places and in ways you can't even see. My hand's on the harness and I won't let go, nor will I let despair overcome you."
In Hebrew, the word "Arise" means, "To accomplish, to ordain, to succeed and to be established." As God's children, and in God's strength, you and I are promised that if we put ourselves in the hand of our Heavenly "rehabilitator," He will accomplish His plans for our lives, plans He has ordained in order to establish us.
I want to share this thought by Angelo Patri with you for it conveys the assurance we can have on God's strength: "When in extremity our strength is as water, our will as the sighing of the wind, when we yield all and lean hard on (God's) strength, the soul's strength rises to assure us as the sun rises over the rim of night. This strength is (woman's) inheritance, the eternal power given her at Creation. It is God's breath within us."
Today, our Father says, "Arise, for I am Thy God. I am Thy strength."
"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint."
Isaiah 40: 31
King James Version.
"May He give us
all the strength that we
need to go the way He
That when He calls we
may go unfrightened.
If He bids us come to
Him across the waters,
that unfrightened we may go.
And if He bids us climb a hill,
may we not notice that it
is a hill, mindful only of
the happiness of His company.
He made us for Himself,
that we should travel with Him
and see Him at the last
in His unveiled beauty
in the abiding city where
He is light and happiness
and endless home."