Text:  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, NRSV adapted).

Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:4-13

Reflection:

I was out in our front garden the other morning and noticed the beautiful daffodils blooming with their brilliant yellow color.  I must say I am impressed with daffodils!  Daffodils are very hardy flowers that bloom early in the springtime and can withstand several bouts of frost and cold without any significant harm.  And though they may temporarily flop over and sag a bit, when the weather warms and the sun comes out again, they quickly revive and recover their splendor.  It seems God has blessed them with an attitude of resiliency.  

Resiliency is important these days!  Resiliency refers to our ability to bounce back and recover.  Resiliency speaks to our capacity to hang tough in trying circumstances.  Resiliency enables us to move forward with persistence and resolve.  Resiliency invites us to adopt a tenacious kind of faith, one that inspires us to believe there is always something more, even when things may look bleak and ambiguous.  

Our reading from Philippians today arouses such a faithful response.  At the time of this writing, the Apostle Paul was in prison, possibly in Rome.  Philippians is a letter of gratitude for the care and concern Paul received from his friends in Philippi, as well as being one of the loveliest and most positive expressions of Paul’s deep faith in God, even when he himself was facing uncertainty and difficulty.   

My favorite verse in Philippians is found in chapter four, verse 13, where Paul writes, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”   This verse reminds me that God’s power goes beyond anything we may currently experience and see.  It also reminds me we are never alone.  God is always with us, even when we must confront the unknown and experience the unsettling feeling of despair. 

So, my friends, my hope for you today is that you may find the power and presence of God within you, and thus move forward today with faith, trust, and hope.          

Prayer:

Gracious God of unending mercy and limitless love, we pray today for all those who are struggling, or suffering, or afraid, and we ask for your healing presence and strength to be with them. As well, we offer our thanksgivings today for the many women and men who are risking their health and personal safety in order to serve the greater needs of our community, nation, and world.  Bless them all, and abide with them all.  O God, we ask for your guidance and we rest in your comfort.  Enable us to live today with a kind of faith in your goodness and love wherein we believe the impossible can happen.  Amen.   

Focus for the Day:

Today I will affirm: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”

Author:  Bob Livingston 

Copyright 2017 © First Congregational Church of Ann Arbor 2016 All rights reserved.