Monday, March 9, 2009


While reading in Proverbs (my default devotions if I don't do my regular Bible reading), I came across a particularly challenging verse.

Proverbs 24:10 says,

"If you faint in the day of trouble, your strength is small."

I think I would have expected the ending of that verse to read a bit differently. I might have expected it to say something like, "If you faint in the day of trouble, your strength is average." or, " wasn't your fault." or, " happens to the best of us."

Really? If I fail during adversity, then I am weak? Let me throw this into a slightly different context, and then end with a challenge.

I remember during one chapel at Xenia Christian High School, one of my teachers, Mr. Holloway gave an illustration using a Styrofoam cup and some water. Mr. Holloway filled the cup to the top with water, and then gave the cup to a student. He instructed the student to hold the cup out at an arms length, and then he suddenly bumped the students arm, forcing the water to spill out. He then asked the student, "Why did water come out of the cup?" The student replied, "Because you bumped my arm." Mr. Holloway informed the student that this was the wrong answer, and the student offered several other guesses, none of which satisfied him. He finally gave the student a clue and asked, "Why didn't coffee, or tea, or something else come out of the cup?" The student replied, "Because there was water in the cup." "Exactly!" my teacher shouted. He went on to explain that what came out of the cup when it was under stress (bumped) was merely a reflection of what was inside. Water wasn't suddenly created, simply because the Styrofoam cup was bumped.

This is true for us as well. When we face "trouble", how we respond is a reflection of who we really are on the inside. Our bad attitudes, clouded thinking, and flippant speech aren't caused by poor situations, they are exposed by them.

So, if I faint in the day of adversity, it is a reflection that my strength wasn't that strong after all. Pretty humbling. Each day we are in a battle. Is your strength small?

"Finally, be strengthened in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Clothe yourselves with the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil." Ephesians 6:10


  1. Wow, Jason. Awesome post. I so needed this reminder tonight!

  2. Very good - similar to this quote from "If" by Amy Carmichael:

    If a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, then I know nothing of Calvary love. For a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, however suddenly jolted.