Who is the strongest person on earth? Is it those men and women we see on the TV who can pull a semi-truck for several yards or lift huge stones and place them on pedestals? Perhaps you thought of Samson or Goliath. May I suggest that while we admire and marvel at such feats, the physical is only one type of strength.
Even stronger than that type of strength is the kind seen in everyday men and women who persevere through all types of trials, setbacks and pain. The caregivers who take care of weak and disabled parents, children or relatives day after day. The cancer patients who struggle through chemo and radiation. The people who have all kinds of afflictions all at once and yet refuse to have a pity-party. Women usually seem more able to tolerate pain than most men. I have seen these precious sisters “take a lickin and keep on tickin” through multiple childbirth, cancers, arthritis, surgeries, etc, etc. Despite all that they can often still see the pain and suffering of others and come along side them to empathize and encourage. This is a strength of the heart, an emotional strength.
The strongest of the strong, however, are the Christians who have been martyrs down through the years and even today. To take up one’s cross daily, ( Lk 9:23) dying to self and keeping the commitment until death, ( Rev 2:10) and giving one’s life for others,( Jo 15:`13) is the strongest of all actions. Even if we aren’t called to die a martyr’s death, we need to keep our commitment through loss of income, loss of family members, loss of respect and all kinds of mistreatment. By dying to self each day we glorify the One who did physically die for us. ( I Cor 15: 3-4)
Some of us at Northwest are painfully aware that we are no longer strong physically. A lot of us would not rank ourselves in the stronger category either. The strongest of us has not yet become a martyr. However, spiritually we can and should be living in the strongest category due to the indwelling Godhead who gives us inner peace and strength. ( Eph 3:16) ( Jo 14: 23)