I am happy to host a guest today. Jennifer Slattery is an author and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries. You can read more about her at the end of this post. Enjoy!
God Our Strength in the Midst of Trials:
Guest post by Jennifer Slattery
As my friend’s death neared, “Christ in her” became all the more apparent. Without Him, she never could’ve stayed strong—and faith-filled—during her ordeal. Her eyesight faded until it was snuffed out entirely. Her movements became limited until she was bedridden. Fighting terminal brain cancer, my friend watched, helplessly, as so many of the things she loved were slowly taken from her.
But not everything. As her physical body gave way and her knees buckled in weakness, she found her feet planted, solid, on the One who would never leave.
In her final moments, she revealed the truth of Psalm 71:7: “My life is an example to many, Because You have been my strength and protection.”
Hopefully we reveal the gospel—the power that lives within us—every day, but so often, God’s strength and grace is seen most clearly when tragedies and difficulties hit. Not because we are strong but rather, because when we are weakest, God’s strength is most evident within us.
David, the author of Psalm 71, understood what it meant to rely, completely, on God for strength and protection. He’d spent at least six years hiding in caves and foreign lands, fleeing from a murderous king. Then, once he began to live out the role that had been prophesied over him almost two decades previously (1 Sam. 16), his own son betrays him and rebels against him, pulling a large number of people along.
If you’re a parent, you can imagine how much that hurt! To have your child, the one you loved, to actively seek your harm. Biblical scholars believe it was during this time of betrayal that David wrote the 71st psalm.
“O Lord, I have come to you for protection,” he cries. “Save me and rescue me … Turn your ear to listen to me. … Be my rock of safety” (vs. 1-3).
Perhaps you’ve been there—crying out to God for aid. Perhaps you’re there right now.
David understood what fear felt like. He understood hurt and despair. He’d walked through some incredibly painful valleys, and yet, he didn’t crumble.
Because he continually and intentionally remembered Who was holding him. “O Lord, You alone are my hope. I’ve trusted You, O Lord, from childhood.”
Years previously, when he shepherded his father’s sheep in the wilderness and fought off wild bears and lions that preyed on his lambs (1 Sam. 17:34-37).
When he defeated a nine-foot giant with a stone and a sling (1 Sam. 17).
When he won control of Judah and conquered and rebuilt Jerusalem (2 Sam. 2 & 5).
Through it all, the good and the bad, the hard and the celebratory, David said, “O Lord, You alone are my hope. I’ve trusted You, O Lord, from childhood. You have been with me from birth; from my mother’s womb you have cared for me. No wonder I am always praising You!” (Ps. 71:5-6, NLT).
Through each frightening and painful event, God had stayed with him, going beside him, standing behind him, and “placing His hand” upon him. (Ps. 139:5)
That was where David received his strength. Not from his armies or mighty men. Not from his wealth once he became king. His strength came from recognizing his total dependence on God and trusting Him to be strong on David’s behalf.
Trusting, no matter the outcome, that God knew and would always do what was best.
As a result, God was glorified, and through David’s story, preserved in Scripture, God continues to receive glory.
Though I may never experience anything close to what my sweet friend with cancer did, nor even a smidgeon of what David went through, I pray, through the good and the hard, like David, I will be able to say, “My life has been an example to many, because Jesus Christ has been my strength.”
Let’s talk about this. Can you share a time when you experienced an incredible difficulty and found God to truly be your strength? Did you experience His strength in a deeper way through that experience? Do you believe your experience and Christ in you through it impacted others? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below because we can all learn from and encourage one another!
Meet Jennifer Slattery
Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer Slattery writes for Crosswalk.com and is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She believes fiction has the power to transform lives and change the culture. Healing Love is her sixth novel, and it was birthed during a trip she and her family took to El Salvador that opened her eyes to the reality of generational poverty and sparked a love for orphans and all who’ve experienced loss.
Her deepest passion is to help women experience God’s love and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she travels with her team to various churches to speak to women and help them experience the love and freedom only Christ can offer. When not writing, editing, or speaking, you’ll likely find her chatting with her friends or husband in a quiet, cozy coffeehouse. Visit her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her and her Wholly Loved team at WhollyLoved.com.
Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the orphans’ eyes. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.
Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out – education – and is determined to help his students rise above.
When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of “missional tourists” full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?