Last weekend, my dad preached on a rather familiar passage in Philippians 4. His sermon was great, focusing on how God can conquer any of our weaknesses and enable us to do the work He calls us to. It was a message full of things you just want to shout “Amen!” to. (You can watch it here if you need this reminder right now.)
But something struck me as he just read the passage at the start of the sermon. Something that hadn’t quite ever struck me this way before. Let’s look at Phil 4:11-13.
I’ve read this verse in context countless times. But before, every time I reached verse 13, I defaulted to “Oh, I’ve memorized this one!” So I just recite to myself as that mantra, that motto, that reminder that with Christ, I can conquer anything the world throws at me.
But last weekend, I read it differently. Because this verse isn’t just about conquering and coming out on top, right? It’s about withstanding. It’s about existing in ways we might not deem good.
It’s not just about Jesus helping you find food.
It’s about Him sustaining you through times of hunger.
It’s not just about Jesus helping you defeat your enemies.
It’s about Him holding you close when they win.
It’s not just about Jesus giving you enough.
It’s about Him giving you strength when there isn’t enough.
Paul says time and again how much he’s suffered for the sake of the cross, and for the first time, as I read this I realized it was another example of it. Another way that Paul says, “Listen, friends. Sometimes we have and sometimes we don’t. But in all times, He’s there. And through Him, we can learn to thrive even in those bad times. We can be content without ‘enough.’ We can be content in pain. We can be content when the world hates us.”
Yes, He does also give us the strength to do. To fight, to be brave, to overcome our limitations and be used by Him. He enables us to answer the call He puts on our lives.
But sometimes, He also just gives us the strength to be, when we don’t feel like it. He fills us when by rights we should be drained. He teaches us how to greet with peace a tumultuous, bitter world that will abuse us.
Sometimes the only victory we can cling to is that Christ is in us.
And that’s enough.