Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Read Philippians 4:12-13
12I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Today is special to me. It was 107 years ago today that my father was born in Genoa, N.Y. He was born when cars were just beginning to be mass produced. His father was a successful shoe store owner until his life was cut short in his early 50’s by a staff infection. Death came quickly and in 1930 at the age of 19, my father experienced the death of his father, the beginning of the Great Depression and ultimately the loss of the family business and their home. In short order the Gibson’s went from abundance to suffering need, as did many in those difficult days.
Philippians 4:13 was my fathers favorite verse in the Bible. He did not wallow in self pity or give up, though it crossed his mind. He owned the truth of Paul’s words and drew on Christ strength to persevere. He was not defeated, but like many of the “greatest generation” their grit, determination and faith led them to do amazing things. Dad went to medical school the year his father died, and washed dishes in a fraternity, among other things, to pay for school and gain his degree. He went on to practice for 45 years, raise and educate five children, give free care to the poor in our county, and travel the world before going home to the Lord at 92 years of age. He died extremely satisfied.
Paul started out wealthy and ended poor and in prison, but satisfied in Christ. We each have our own journey of circumstances – sometimes the ease of abundance and sometimes suffering need. But what remains the same is the secret strength of Christ, who empowers us to embrace all things, endure all things, and persevere in faith through all things – for the glory of God, alone.
Father, thank you for the strength of your Son and his Spirit who is alive within us. Whatever our circumstances today, whatever comes before us, may we persevere, not by our might nor our will, but in the strength of the Lord Jesus Christ. AMEN.