The song, “Strong Enough” by Matthew West played on the radio as I drove to the beach for a jog after work this past Wednesday.
In the past I had not jogged on my 12-hour work days on a psychiatric ward, but weeks earlier I discovered that it helped me to deal with the re-entry back into the “real world.”
I parked the car and headed toward the beach where a glorious sunset featuring golds, oranges, and pinks presented itself to me. As I began my jog, I sang a Scripture line from Matthew’s song which was still running through my mind,
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
How I needed those words at that moment as I felt I didn’t have enough strength to deal with pressures at work and ongoing conflicts with my husband.
As I continued to sing those words, I luxuriated in the sound of the surf, the touch of the cool evening air on my skin, and the now-fading masterpiece painted across the sky. I thanked God for the privilege of living in Florida.
Off to my right out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that some daytime beach-goers had left behind words they had etched in the sand. There were several sets of words there, but I didn’t take the time to read them as I jogged by.
On my left were more words, and for some reason I decided to slow down to read them, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength,” I read as I jogged in place.
Not only were the words the same ones I was at that moment singing, they were the same exact words. The words I had learned years ago were,
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (NKJV)
When these major “coincidences” happen, I know God is trying to confirm a truth to me. What truth did he have for me? That He would give me strength to endure the pressures of a demanding job and he would give me grace to deal with every relationship in my life.
As I continued on my jog with the words still echoing in my mind, I realized how often I try to do things in my own strength and hold to my own plan for how circumstances should work out. But God reminded me that it was OK to feel weak—that He would give me all the strength I needed as I depended on Him.
It was His guidance that led me to jog on the beach after work to help with the transition to home after an exhausting work day.
The next day I looked up “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” I couldn’t find those exact words in any of the translations online. Perhaps the person who wrote that phrase in the sand had been listening to the same song earlier and had put down the songwriter’s paraphrase of that verse.
All I know is that God wanted me to get the message of His strength, and so He repeated Himself using a beach-goer and an etching in the sand.
He is so good.
“Strong Enough” by Matthew West http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCJNZydWoOg