Saint Mark Daily Lenten Devotional – February 21, 2015
by Harvey Oaxaca
Scripture: Philippians 4:10-20
As we read today’s passage, it’s easy to key in on the one phrase (verse 13) that is quoted often by believers, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” And that is truly a powerful verse-that is unless you are in some really tough situation or struggling day in and day out. I think for a lot of people, when they hear someone quote this verse flippantly they actually want to punch them. I mean it sounds good on the surface, but I feel that most of us wonder “where is the power and how can this truly help me in my present struggle?”
What’s interesting is that the verse is actually part of a larger passage and story. Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians while he was in prison, most likely in Rome and most likely facing execution. When we read the passage (verses 10-20), we get a sense that Paul has found contentment. He understands pain, struggle, and hardship, and yet is content. But it’s also important to note that he is also thanking the Philippians for their support and gifts. He is content in his present struggle because he is not alone. The good news today is that we are also not alone.
We must realize that Christ gives us strength to fortify us in our darkest days, but Christ also sends others to support us. Paul understood that to be content, we must have faith in Christ while recognizing the support of the loving community where we find ourselves. Maybe today you are called to be the strength for someone close to you. Or maybe today is your day to seek Christ’s strength recognizing the supporting arms or gifts of those whom God has placed in your life.
Prayer: Dear God, we are thankful for your strength in the dark, painful days. As we move through Lent, help us to know this power both within and through our community who have been sent to strengthen us. Allow us to also be open to support others in our community family as well. Amen.