Inner strength, stamina, and the will to go on despite impossible odds are at the center of the Nine of Wands. But this is not the same card of static defense that is found in the Seven of Wands. The Nine of Wands is more of a dynamic defense, and thus it is much more powerful. Crowley pointed out that this card illustrates the aphorism "change is stability". In times of great difficulty and stress, this card show us that you will always have strength to endure if you search for it deep inside of yourself.
You should expect difficulty when this card appears, but you should also expect to find a way to overcome it. Keep your power at the ready and be vigilant for opposition, always ready to defeat it. Identify your own power and be ready to use it in your defense. You should be aware, though, that combat is not always the best answer. Often, waiting is the only way to bring about victory. Beware also of waiting so long that you are still ready to fight long after the conflict has ended. It is often hard to tell whether a period of calm marks the beginning, middle, or the end of a storm. Holding on is admirable, but sometimes it is even more remarkable to let go.
This card often marks the final ordeal, the last hill that must be climbed or the last hurdle that must be cleared before the finish line. And it is the last obstacle that usually proves most dangerous, because it is a last ditch effort by whatever forces oppose you to stop you before you reach your goal at last. To surmount this obstacle you have to realize but one thing. You have made it this far, and this obstacle is no different that the others you have already defeated. Great glory lies ahead, so reach down deep inside and give it everything you've got.
Such strength can be found in everyone, though for some reason it only shows itself to us when we need it. The strength to proceed against all odds is not a force that can be invoked, but that must be earned through adversity and challenges of all sorts. It is only available when every other option has been explored, when every stone has been turned, when the fuel gauge is teetering on empty but you still want to try one more time. Then, admist the greatest of darknesses, your inner strength starts to shine, lighting the way to glory. And how brightly that light can shine when you need it to!