27th August

For God When Young And Strong

Love the Lord your God with all your … strength. Deuteronomy 6: 5

Better late then never? In the light of eternity, it is best to dedicate our youth and our strength to God. For God wants the flower of our lives, and, in fact, we are unlikely to reach our full flower if we do not give the physical powers, passions and purposes of our youth to God.

We must not think that our physical powers are something to keep separate from our spiritual destination. They need to be harnessed, not hand-cuffed to God. God has a use for both physical weakness and physical strength. We can be a fragile reed for God or a body builder for God. It was said that Patrick used the strong man Mac Carton as his bodyguard. The muscular young Cuthbert, too, was strong for God:

In accordance with the example of Samson the strong, who was once a Nazirite, Cuthbert sedulously abstained from all intoxicants; but he could not submit to such abstinence in food, lest he became unfit for the work he needed to do. For he was robust of body and sound in strength, and fit for whatever labour he cared to undertake.
Bede’s Life of Cuthbert

I pass over the many other great things Cuthbert did in the flower of his youth, because I am keen to describe how as a mature adult he showed peaceable qualities and the power of Christ in serving God. So I omit how Cuthbert, when based at an army camp, face to face with the enemy, and with the most meagre of food rations, yet lived in abundance throughout that time. He was strengthened by divine aid, just as Daniel and the three young men, though they refused the royal food that their religion did not allow, grew greatly in physical stature on the meagre food allowance of slaves.
The Anonymous Life of Cuthbert

God who created me
Nimble and light of limb
In three elements free
To run, to ride, to swim
Not when the sense is dim
But now from the heart of joy
I would remember Him …