A Different Kind of Strength

This posting puts me out onto thin ice.  Now, those who have been following my blog these 6 years (wow, has it been that long?) know that I tend to cover subjects that put me on dangerous ground, but now I’ve really stepped out into unknown territory, and who knows what might happen.

I want to talk about the difference between the strength men have and the strength women have.  Of course, I’m writing this from a man’s perspective so it is highly subjective and probably full of holes, but here we go…

Let me start with what I think I know best – a man’s strength.  Of course, we usually think of physical strength, but there are so many other kinds of strength besides just physical strength.  In fact, it might be said that physical strength is not the most important strength for a man to have.  Unless, of course, you are tracking down elephants or tigers for dinner, that is.  When I think of men I’ve known and what strengths in them I recognized they fall into a few categories, that mostly deal with strength of character.

The strongest men are not the ones who are the most determined, the most bullheaded, the most driven.  No, the strongest men I’ve ever known are those who can control their own will and desires.  For of all the things that are hardest to conquer, the hardest to master, these might be the ones.  Controlling our own will and desire is not something you master and then never have to deal with again, but is something that is a constant daily battle.

When we think of will and desire, we are really talking about getting what we want, and what price we are willing to pay to get what we want.  Of course, this price is not always money, and most of the time, has nothing to do with money.  The price we pay to get what we want is measured by what we are willing to give up, and what we are willing to sacrifice, not only of our own, but of others.  That’s right.  Some men’s will and desire is so powerful they will bankrupt not only themselves, but those around them in an attempt to gain what they want or desire.  The ones who have the strength to let go of those things that would bring harm or destruction to themselves or others may be the strongest of all.

And then there are those men, who go beyond those measures listed above.  In the millions and billions of men the world has produced there are very few of these individuals.  These individuals have put aside their own desires and their own wills, not to gain a prize for themselves, but for the benefit of others.  Yes, this is strength of the highest caliber.

Now, let me talk about women, and the particular strengths I think they possess.  (I already feel the ice melting under my feet, but I’m not smart enough to stop skating on it).  In the areas we’ve already discussed women are perfectly capable of exhibiting strength in those areas, too.  But, I’ve noticed some other characteristics, too.  Perhaps, some characteristics that are not as common in the men I’ve known.  Men can gain a reputation for being determined, driven, ambitious, and single-minded, when it comes to achieving a particular goal or objective.  And women can do the same, but I’m not sure these characteristics or traits beat the heart of a woman.  For a woman’s quiet strength can overcome even the most cruel and bitter opposition, and over time the rock that cannot be moved or pushed aside by the raw strength of a man, can be shattered into little pieces by the old gray haired woman, who is hardly strong enough to walk.  How is this possible?  To be honest, I’m not quite sure, but I have seen it done in my lifetime.

I was fortunate enough to have watched two women in my lifetime I know had the strength I’m talking about.  My mother and my mother-in-law.  Of course, there are other women I’ve seen who have also exhibited this strength, but for now I will only focus on these two.  These two women were not really alike, but then again, they were very much alike.  Both came from humble beginnings.  Both raised families during difficult and trying times.  Both did whatever they had to do, to make things work for their families and husbands.  Both hardly ever complained, or if they did, I never heard it.  Both endured the death of loved ones, children, grandchildren, and their own husbands.  Both cared for their husbands even when the husbands could no longer return their love because of illness and disease.  Both carried on after their husband’s passing.  The quiet, persistent, gentle, yet unbeatable strength they exhibited during their lifetime was really quite amazing.

It is a different kind of strength.  Not easily defined.  There are no words that can properly define it, but you know it when you encounter it.  It is the strength of Ruth.  It is the strength of Naomi.  It is the strength of Sarah.  It is the strength of Rahab.  It is the strength of Mary.  Yes, this kind of strength is stronger than the strongest man, it endures when other forms of strength wither away.  It outlasts all those who oppose it.  It is stronger than steel.

But, while we cannot define this strength, it is important to at least recognize it, and appreciate it.  And to understand its importance in a world where only outward demonstrations of strength are appreciated and rewarded.  This is a strength given by God Himself, and is more powerful than any force we can fathom or comprehend.  The atomic bomb, as powerful as it has become, withers in comparison to this kind of strength.

Well, I must close now, for I feel the ice underneath me giving way, and those who think I’ve pushed out too far will no doubt laugh as I thrash and paddle my way back to the safety of the shore…  Nevertheless, I think some truth is here…

One Response to “A Different Kind of Strength”

  1. beamcguire@gmail.com Says:

    I so love your blogs!! This was excellent and I always learn so much from them….things I never will forget. As always, thank you for the blessing you and your family always were and continue to be!

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