I remember when I was in 3rd grade and the Power Team came to my school. They were a group of guys with massive muscles and tight clothes who performed “superhuman” feats. I recall faintly that they said something about God, but I can still vividly see in my mind’s eye one huge guy ripping apart a phone book.
In that same Elementary School was a meek little librarian. She wore a different plaid shirt and matching corduroy skirt everyday no matter what the temperature was. She also had Coke bottle glasses that resembled Velma’s from Scooby Doo and wore a tiny cross around her neck. She was kind, gentle, patient, giving and peaceful. Actually saying that she was patient is an understatement. Some teachers would gladly send their resident problem child to the library. Not for books but to get them out of their hair. I am talking a kid whose parents put him on the bus for the sole purpose of getting him out of the house. They didn’t care if he could read, write or count to 10, they just needed a break. Everybody knows this kid. They also know that the kid usually passed right on by the library and went on a grand adventure. Not at our school. At our school they went straight to the library because that was the place where they knew they would be treated like they mattered. By the way, she could also find any book within 15 seconds.
While I am certain that the Power Team reached some kids, when I think of true strength, I think of that mousy little librarian.
It doesn’t take strength for a man to beat his wife. It does take strength for that woman to escape the abuse. It takes even more strength for a man to escape it.
It doesn’t take strength to wake up and go into work at Planned Parenthood one more day. It takes strength to walk away not knowing when and if you will find another job.
It doesn’t take strength to join in and trash property. It takes strength to stand in front of your friends who are looting and say “NO.”
It doesn’t take strength to hate someone who has done you wrong. It takes strength to forgive that person, to sincerely pray for them and reach out to them with loving kindness.
When we read Philippians 4:13, we would serve God and ourselves well to remember what true strength is.