by Sharman J. Monroe
“Where no oxen are, the trough is clean;
But much increase comes by the strength of an ox.”
Proverbs 14:4 (NJKV)
I’m the kind of person who starts a project on Monday and wants to complete it perfectly by Friday. I don’t want to face any hiccups or any adversity from people or anything negative. I want everything to go smoothly and effortlessly. Everyone I approach says yes and all the pieces fall seamlessly into place. Ta-dah! But that is not reality. Sometimes life goes smoothly, but most of the time it does not.
The Word teaches us that smooth sailing 100% of the time is not reality. Jesus warned us that in this world we would have tribulation — trials, trouble, distress — but let us know that He conquered the tribulations (John 16:33). First Corinthians 16:9 says, “For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” Oh, great! So, in reality, what are we to do when the hiccups, adversities, negativities, sadness, griefs, troubles, and hurts of the world hit us?
The word “strength” in Proverbs 14:4 comes from the Hebrew word kowach which means to be firm. We are to be firm in our faith and trust in God. We are to be firm in always focusing on God, not our circumstances. We are to be firm in continuing with the project God gave us to do no matter what we feel. And when we get tired, we can firmly fall on God for His strength; He will provide it (Psalms 68:35). The Word lets us know that our diligence is our precious possession (Proverbs 12:27). While we don’t like the hiccups, adversities, negativities, sadness, etc. of life, without them we not built into strong people of God (Romans 5:3-4).