I  swallow and wince at rawness in my throat. Hours pass but it and swelling in neck glands don’t, so I stay home from church, and later Husband shares a sermon.

In it, smallish David faces huge Goliath. Then the message, near its end, jumps to Paul reminding those in Corinth how he formerly faced them: “not in excellence of speech or of wisdom… but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power…” but, also paradoxically, “in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling” (1 Cor 2:1-4).

Then the grace stuff of 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 binds weakness and victory tight together as Paul declares, “When I am weak, then I am strong” [in God’s power].

But what stood out for me was that word “trembling.”

Paul trembled!

I’d read that before, many times. So it didn’t shock me with its presence now. It just finally sank in! Paul himself says he was actually in fear, and much trembling.

We don’t think of him much this way, do we? With Paul as with David, we imagine bold and forthright confidence. 

Did David tremble when he faced Goliath? Well may be.

These thoughts fortify my wimpy heart.

I tremble sometimes. I just said so in my last post, about true grit.

But all this tells me that doesn’t matter. It’s what you choose to do, because of, or in spite of, your trembling. She who does the bravery God commands, with knocking knees, by calling on Him for the resources sorely lacking in herself, exhibits greater strength, it seems, than he who feels powerful in himself. For “the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Cor 1:25), and His “strength is made perfect in [our] weakness” (2 Cor 12:9).

The sermon said something else, something I’d rather not hear: How God evidently prepared David for facing that giant, in earlier conflicts with lion and bear (1 Sa 17:36). Equipped him.

At this I wince. The all-pervading wimp within hopes this sermon isn’t equipping me for future battle. Because I know I’ll tremble.



24 thoughts on “And He Trembled…

  1. Joy is in the retelling and in the reception of truth. I hope you are well quickly. Loved reading your list of praises.

  2. Oh, I know that feeling of trembling at the thought of being prepared for something that’s right around the corner. I’m doing a Bible study on Paul right now and just finished my lesson on Paul’s trembling when he headed to Athens. So fun to hear an “echo” in your writing today.

    1. Mmm, Alicia, sure seems like a “God-incidence” to me. Thanks for this delight.

  3. Preparing a lesson in Psalm 119 and in verse 120 the Psalmist says his flesh trembles for fear of God.
    Thanks for the post!

    1. And thanks for the comment, Laurie! Another “God-incident”! Prayers for your lesson presentation.

    1. Hi Theresa,
      Looks like yet another example of God’s timing. Isn’t it amazing the way he works? So glad you visited and commented. God bless!

  4. It wouldn’t be courage if there was no fear, would it? Very good thoughts here. Reminding me to honor the trembling knees.

    1. You are so right, Laura! It wouldn’t be courage if there was no fear! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  5. New nurses always ask me if this panic they feel is normal. I tell them it certainly is. They have people’s lives in their hands and the minute they think they know everything and let down their guard and vigilance, that is when they invite disaster. The fear they carry as a professional will not always be panic, but there should always be an uneasiness because one never knows what is going to come off the elevator or down the street in an ambulance.

    Why did I just say all this to a non-nursing audience? I think because nursing has been my normal life and I was privileged to walk beside many people through some of the most difficult days of their lives, HOWEVER it was never without fear and trembling. He held us both up.

    Some wise thoughts in your post and throughout your comments, Sylvia,

    1. Dawn,
      Why did you just say all this to a non-nursing audience? Because of some email conversation I just had with someone about this blog post (in lieu of commenting). We were talking about fear and trembling over teaching God’s word to others:

      “I think fear concerning teaching God’s word is a good, healthy fear. It keeps us from going off on our own tangents… [It’s] a sign of… a good [SS/Bible] teacher!”

      The teacher’s responsibility for others’ spiritual well-being is like the nurse’s for physical well-being. When we let down our guard there, we invite another kind of disaster. It’s every bit as important. Same goes for the responsibility we have as Christian bloggers. Scary, if we take the time to think about it.

      And for that very reason I just asked for prayer a couple days ago: that God give me wisdom and guidance about what to post and not post, that I not cause anyone to stumble, and only help build any readers up in their faith and walk.

      I just love when the comments on a post take this kind of course: It gives me and anyone else reading them all so much more understanding and wisdom through the varied contributions. And I love how you illustrate scriptural principles by nursing stuff. Shows where your heart is, with both.

      Thanks much for this input. You didn’t know how well it fit. 🙂

  6. You are so right, Sylvia! We don’t think of Paul or David trembling, but as always being strong in faith.

    Thank you for the reminder that courage is not in the emotion, but in the action despite the emotion.

  7. I have just, as in today survived a very, very difficult trial. The battlefield was treacherous. And although I fell many times, I courageously got back up and kept on moving. Today I can say that I passed the tests and I am victorious in Christ who strengthened me. In my weakness, He made me strong. Thank you for such a thought provoking post.

    1. Oh, Joan, I am so glad if this was of some comfort, affirmation, or other help to you. I know what you are talking about, though I have no idea of the details. I mean I have experienced all you are describing — and, most wondrous in it all, that strength He gives in our weakness. Prayers for you. And praise to Him for your victory! God bless.

  8. Thanks, Denise, for commenting. And the power is all His, isn’t it? Glad you stopped by. Blessings to you!

  9. I’ve never even considered whether David was afraid. I guess I just thought he was so brave and trusted so much that he never came close to trembling with fear. Thank you for the insight you shared in this post. If he was afraid, and I think he must have been at least somewhat, it makes his actions even more admirable.

  10. Yes, Charlotte, those who shake and still go ahead in the strength of the Lord — well, they have the greatest strength, don’t they, and “true grit”? I’m so glad you visited and commented here. God bless!

  11. Good, good words here. The most important triumphs in the history of humankind began with trembling knees.

    Thank you, sister, for linking. I’m honored.

  12. And I’m so blessed, Jennifer, by the link-up. Thank you for providing it.
    And…”The most important triumphs in the history of humankind began with trembling knees” = Sounds like a quotable quote to me! Thank you for that, too!

  13. Thank you for stopping by over at my place this week. Your words blessed me. And this, I am so glad I finally had to time to read this. I love this gift ~How He shows me that even the “strong ones” tremble.

    I know trembling all to well… courageously afraid I write… heart bear for anyone to see… and this encourages me… “She who does the bravery God commands, with knocking knees, by calling on Him for the resources sorely lacking in herself, exhibits greater strength, it seems, than he who feels powerful in himself.”

    Blessings to you…

    1. And thank you for stopping by here, Michele-Lyn, and for your kind comment. It blesses my heart if this blesses you. I know I need the constant reminder that “His power is made perfect in weakness,” and that it’s “when I am weak,” that “I am strong.” How good He is to us!

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