Strength to the Weary (03-03-21)
Bible Reading: Isaiah 40:27-31
Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel,
"My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God"?
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Studies looking at the prevailing moods across the nation during the pandemic suggest that at the beginning it was one of fear. This moved to hope last summer, boredom in the autumn and now it is one of weariness. After twelve months of isolation, the uncertainty of how things will work out and the lack of anything in the diary to plan for and look forward to, we can probably all identify with that to some extent.
Into this situation, these words of Isaiah seem very apt. They start with what might appear as a reprimand, along the lines of ‘Stop complaining!’, but I don’t think that is the thrust of Isaiah’s message. To me he is recognising the reality of a difficult situation and trying to refocus Israel’s eyes off the problems and onto the God who is both beyond and present.
Are there times when you have felt you are struggling alone, hidden from God and from the rest of the world? Be encouraged; even there, God has not forgotten you; he sees you, and he was with you.
When we feel tired and weary, it is easy beat ourselves up, to think we shouldn’t feel like that, and to assume that everyone else is coping fine. And yet, in Isaiah’s words there is an acceptance that we will go through such times, ‘Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall’. Rather than saying we shouldn’t feel tired and weary, Isaiah points us to the God who never tires and who gives strength to the weary.
It’s OK to feel weary, but in our weariness let us put our hope in the Lord, for he will renew our strength, and in Isaiah’s beautiful imagery, he will enable us to soar above our problems on wings like eagles, to run and not grow weary, to walk and not be faint.
Lord Jesus, in my weariness I put my hope in you.
Help me to soar on wings like eagles, to see my problems from your perspective,
and to find the strength for each new day.
Lord, I come to you.