Promise: God Will Give You Strength

It was 8 a.m. on a Saturday in Southern California while I was settling to watch my four-and-a-half-year-old son play basketball when I received a call from a sister in the Lord, Anne, dying in Minnesota.[1]


We never met, but similar difficult providences had connected us for counsel and we became fast friends.  She quickly embraced me and my family with a motherly care that felt like she had been waving with a smile from across our cul-de-sac for decades. 


And now, Anne was reaching out for brotherly comfort while lying on her deathbed in hospice.  Her speech was slurred, slowing, and sleepy due to medications causing side effects of delusions and anxiety.  Not long before, she was only able to reply to my concerned cell phone texts by typing a few empty bubbles.


I was in the midst of studying one of God’s names for a sermon series: El, translated God,” meaningThe Strong One.”  I took Anne to the Lord by this name through prayer and the Word, including Psalm 73:26: My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.  And she testified of being strengthened by her El.


We all are already in the process of making our deathbeds and soon we will lie in them.  Thankfully, God will always carry Christians through the valley of the shadow of death.  For Proverbs 18:10 promises, The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.  And Psalm 18:2 emboldens us, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God [El], my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.  Like the towers my children and I gazed up at while walking along the Sydney Bridge during a very vulnerable moment of our family’s life.  We are weak but He is strong.


Within Balams second oracle in Numbers 23:22, he continues to marvel over how, God [El] brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.  So Moses sang in Exodus 15:2, The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God [El] ...


So many names of places and faces thus bear His name, “The Strong One”: Bethel (House of God); Peniel (Face of God); Elijah (My God is Jehovah); Elisha (God is Salvation); Elihu (He is My God); Daniel (The LORD is my Judge); Gabriel (God is My Strength); Samuel (His Name is God); Emmanuel (God is with Us); and Elisabeth (Oath of God).


Herbert Lockyer notes how El is especially used in Job and the Psalms, which are mainly expressions of excruciating weakness seeking God’s sustaining support; he highlights how the prophecy in Psalm 22:1 cried out through Christ’s lips in Mark 15:34 was, “My El! My El!”[2]


So must you make it through your sufferings.  You do not have the strength to save you from hell nor your hellish problems.  Dont try and impress anyone.  Rather, be impressed with God and utter the testimony of  Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me; and Psalm 18:32: It is God [El] that girdeth me with strength; and Psalm 46:1: God [El] is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.


One of our church’s saints also shared around the time of Anne’s call,I couldnt do it in my own strength. I had to turn to God for His strength.”


Remember, in 2 Corinthians 12:9, God promised, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.


My wife, not long before Anne’s death, also had given me a weakness witness about how God delivered her in delivering our son, Gabriel Samuel, into our lives.  She had lost her strength to continue pushing.  But then she finally did powerfully.  While our baby boy was being cleaned and Mama was being mended, she said to the nurses:  I couldnt do it.  I prayed to God and He helped me.”  She was so weak, I didnt even recognize she had been praying.  But El was there hearing, holding, and helping her.


So beloved brethren, when you have no strength left, remember thats when you are about to be at your strongest as you pray to El and trust that … God is Your Strength.[3]


Grant Van Leuven has been feeding the flock at the Puritan Reformed Presbyterian Church in San Diego, CA, since 2010.  He and his wife, Fernanda, have seven covenant children: Rachel, Olivia, Abraham, Isaac, Gabriel, Gideon, and Giulianna.  He earned his M.Div. at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA.

[1] In honor of Anne Nalevanko, whose phone number remains in the author’s cell phone contacts though she went to be with El in 2019.  He is grateful for her reaching out to him to be introduced and discuss similar health exploration and for the friendship that developed and her support of his finding and marrying a new wife (and sending them a wedding gift to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord).  See

[2] Herbert Lockyer, All the Divine Names and Titles in the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975), 7.

[3] To listen to the author’s sermon by this title on which this article was based (within a series on God’s Names), visit


Grant Van Leuven