Have you ever gone to bed, exhausted? I mean, seriously wiped-out? So tired that the only thing you could even think about was crawling into bed...?
When you’re tired and depleted, even the smallest, most insignificant of things, can seem daunting.
Or maybe you’re waiting on something... you’ve been praying about something for some time, and you’re to the point of burn-out... you’re tempted to just give up because you’re so tired of trying.
It’s my experience, that when we feel the most burned-out... and frustrated... and drained... be it physically, emotionally or spiritually... it’s because we’ve been striving in our own strength - relying on our own ability and our personal idea of what’s best for us and those around us.
Of course, God never intended any of us, as followers of Christ, to rely on our own strength. God gives us the power and strength we need, in our weakness.
We’ve witnessed this in our own lives... when we couldn’t see a way... when our options were as exhausted as our bodies... God steps in... and somehow, someway... something or someone would be there for us, at just the right time. Just try and recall all the times in your own life, when God has blessed you and me with strength, encouragement and help.
Our lesson from Isaiah usually comes to mind: “Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength.” Isaiah 40:28-31.
I’m thankful... and blessed... to know where my help comes from. How about you?
Like the Psalmist declares with certainty and assurance (Psalm 121) “my help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.”
It’s not my own flesh or my inner strength and determination that sees me through. No... my help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth... and He gives me hope and keeps me going. I’m forever grateful, thankful for God’s Word; His word that reminds us time and again of who and Whose we are. His word that gives each of us a fresh outlook and a proper perspective for our lives. It’s all about Him and seeing what He will do through us when we give it all to Him. He is able!
How often do you and I need to simply trust God, and let God be God? His strength is perfect, when our strength is gone... “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.
You know, it’s a fact: Life is full of good times, and not so good times. Times when we feel blessed, and times when we feel not-so-blessed. We all go through periods of trial, and anxiety, and grief - we’re all subject to the stresses of life... stresses that make us tired and weary. The Bible reminds us that we go through seasons in life... and that for everything there is a “season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:11
And one of the seasons that God’s word talks about again and again is the season of waiting.
Man, do we ever hate waiting! Waiting is the worst! No one likes to wait. Show of hands. How many of us love to go to the doctor’s office to wait 2 hours for a 10-minute appointment?
But waiting, biblically speaking, has a purpose... because while you and I wait... God is working. Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of believing that a season of waiting means that God has stopped working. Nothing could be further from the truth! He’s just taking you through that season because he’s using the time to work in your circumstances for your good. (Romans 8:28)
I have a news flash for everyone: Like it or not... you and I are gonna spend a huge chunk of our lives waiting. And if you & I don’t figure out how to trust God while we’re waiting... we’re gonna spend a whole lot of our lives... not trusting God.
God’s never in a hurry. He’s eternal! He is watching. He is working. He is seeing how and when you will trust him as you’re waiting. You’re saying, “When, Lord? When is it going to happen?” And God’s saying, “You can trust me with this.”
The problem with waiting is that our human nature and our society say, “Don’t wait! Get things as quickly as you can.”
That’s the way our culture is wired, but it goes against God’s blessing in our lives, because God’s blessing comes through these times of waiting.
Are you in a time of waiting? Maybe it’s for school to end. Maybe it’s for the “right person” to come into your life. Maybe it’s for a marriage to happen or a baby to come or a new job opportunity to arrive. And you may be frustrated with how slowly things are happening. We’ve all been there.
And the promise of God’s word remains... “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.”
There’s an implied waiting to hope! The two go hand in glove. To hope in the Lord, is to wait upon the Lord. That’s how God worked when he sent Jesus into this world. The world had waited and hoped and prayed for centuries, generations, for Jesus to come the first time. And he came at just the right moment.
We’ve been waiting 2,000 years now for Jesus to come again. And, at times, when we see the condition of the world around us - the lack of morals and basic decency - we may get a little impatient! When will that happen? When will Jesus come again to make all things right and new? At just the right time - God’s time.
Of course, you and I need to remember that a delay is not a denial. When you think God is saying no, he may just be saying, “Not yet. Will you keep trusting me through this?”
Micah 7:7 says, “I trust the Lord God to save me, and I will wait for him to answer my prayer” (CEV).
That is the kind of faith that God blesses.
One of the most famous Christians of the 19th century was a guy named Hudson Taylor. He was a missionary to China, and he was a spiritual giant and a brilliant man.
In his old age, he lost his health and became frail and weak. He wrote a letter to a friend that said this: “I am so weak I can no longer work. I am so weak I can no longer study. I am so weak I can no longer read... I cannot even pray. I can only lie still in the arms of God like a little child in trust.”
At some point in your life, you may be so weary, that you can’t really do anything. All you can do... and all you should do... in those moments... is rest in the strength of the Lord, in his arms like a little child, and trust.
Weakness can actually be a good thing in your life if it causes you to depend on God. In 2 Corinthians 12:8-10, Paul says “Three different times I begged the Lord to [remove the thorn in his flesh]. Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (NLT).
That’s the paradox of depending on God: The weaker we are, the more we depend on him. And the more we depend on God, the stronger we become.
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
This is the word of God for the People of God.
Thanks be to God.