Physical strength can be impressive. Have you ever watched one of those Strong Man Competitions where huge men lift cars, pull buses and throw large barrels over a wall? Their physical strength is something we admire, but for most of us we aren’t very interested in being able to do what they do. It’s much different with “inner strength”. People with inner strength are not only admired by others, but they also possess an attribute that most people desire for themselves. Two women of amazing inner strength mentioned in the Bible are Naomi and Ruth.
“…a severe famine came upon the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah left his home and went to live in the country of Moab, taking his wife and two sons with him. The man’s name was Elimelech, and his wife was Naomi. Then Elimelech died, and Naomi was left with her two sons. The two sons married Moabite women. But about ten years later, both sons died. This left Naomi alone, without her two sons or her husband…Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back to your mothers’ homes”…But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.” (from Ruth 1:1-16 NLT)
Sometimes in life, things just seem to go from bad to worse. Problems and grief often compound and the difficulties of life can become overwhelming. This is where inner strength shows up. Inner strength comes from the combination of facing the brutal facts of reality yet never losing hope. People with inner strength also have a strong influence on others. Ruth in her grief and despair was attracted to the inner strength of Naomi. Ruth gained her strength to keep going from being with Naomi. People with inner strength, strengthen others.
A positive attitude is essential for having inner strength. However, shallow optimism that fails to acknowledge the difficult and painful reality of life will be more like a flare of hope that quickly burns out. Gaining inner strength is like building a fire with wet logs. It’s never easy. You must deal with the challenges but stay determined to overcome. Once the fire ignites, however, not only will the difficulties begin to fade away, but others will be warmed by your fire.
As Christian leaders in our community, we have the opportunity to live out our faith through difficult times. Be a leader of inner strength. Remember, it’s never easy and you should never attempt the journey alone. Just like physical strength, you must exercise your inner strength to prepare yourself for the challenges of life that will come your way. Start by having an attitude of inner strength in the common challenges you face today and build your inner strength for the bigger challenges you’ll face in the future. Never lose hope.
“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.” ~ Helen Keller