Friday, October 21, 2016

Comfort My People: The Prophecies Of Isaiah, Day 115

Comfort My People:
The Prophecies Of Isaiah
Day 115

Isaiah has been presenting us with the power of God and today he reassures us that God gives power and strength to mankind. 

"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." (Isaiah 40:28) Sometimes we feel like we have wearied God with our neediness and weakness, but as far as I can tell from the Scriptures, the only thing God feels weary about is the faithlessness and idolatry in the land. He showed His power and might to generation after generation and yet the people kept falling into the sin of idolatry while keeping up the appearance of remaining faithful to God by. This type of weariness doesn't indicate a flagging of God's strength but could be compared to something like an exasperated feeling, the way we ourselves tend to feel when we repeatedly try to help someone who refuses to be helped. But God is not weary of the prayers of those who love Him. Like any good Father, He desires that we come to Him with everything that troubles us. There is power in prayer and renewal of our strength. We are turning problems that are too big for us over to One for whom nothing is too big. What relief and comfort there is in this! 

When we come to Him in faith believing He is able to help us, great things happen. "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." (Isaiah 40:29) Sometimes I go through seasons of weariness. There are times when almost everything seems like too much and I start to feel anxious and burned out and irritable. I've noticed over the years that this tends to happen when I am relying mostly on my own strength and not on the Lord's strength. Of course we will get weary when we try to do it all on our own, because God never intended for us to do it on our own. Satan loves it when we fall for the lie that we are the ones holding everything in our families together, or that we are the ones holding everything at work or at church together. The devil is thrilled when he can take our focus off the Lord and put it on ourselves, causing us to forget that the Lord is the One who holds all things together by His powerful word. (Hebrews 1:3) If you're a Type A personality like me, a multi-tasker who feels like everything at home or work will fall apart if we don't stay on top of it, then you know how prone we are to falling into reliance upon self rather than reliance upon God. Every time I think about the way my heavenly Father has His hands outstretched to me, ready to lighten my load and bear my burdens, I am reminded of this picture of my earthly father and me on my first Christmas:

This picture says everything you need to know about my intense and driven personality: I'm trying to ride a pony, tend my baby, and talk on the phone all at the same time. My father is holding his hand out ready to catch me because he knows I'm overdoing it and may topple over at any second. This is the same attitude of our heavenly Father. He has His hand out to us, saying, "You don't have to bear these burdens alone. You are wearing yourself out believing it all depends on you. But I am the one who spoke the words that caused the universe to spring into existence and My word still stands, holding the galaxies in place and keeping the planets spinning. Can I not hold things in your life together too? My Son made a beautiful and refreshing offer to you when He said, 'Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.'" 

Isaiah concludes Chapter 40 with one of my favorite verses, "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." (Isaiah 40:30-31) The "youths" and "young men" represent those who trust in their own strength and power. They will grow tired along life's highway. They will stumble in the way because their own strength won't be sufficient for the journey. But those who hope in the Lord will get a second wind exactly when they need it. Those who hope in the Lord are not merely existing, plodding along just putting one foot in front of the other....they are soaring like eagles! They aren't dragging their feet in the dust....they are running the race! They aren't staggering from exhaustion walking up steep hills....they are climbing steadily and with purpose!

If you've been feeling weary of mind and soul, you know that's harder to deal with than weariness of body. Weariness of body can be cured by a good night's sleep but weariness of the mind and soul requires the healing touch of the Father. If you've been feeling burned out, irritable, burdened down or discouraged, it just might be that all you need is some time in the Father's presence. Maybe you've been trying to carry the load all by yourself, something the Lord never intended you to do. He has His hand out ready to help, just like my own father had his hand out ready to help me in the picture above. Our heavenly Father knows the load of this world is too much for us to carry and that we will faint along the way if we don't let go and trust Him to hold things together. He invites us to hand our troubles over to Him. "Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken." (Psalm 55:22) "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you". (1 Peter 5:7) God, our perfect and most loving Father, is ready and willing and able to handle everything that comes our way. We will find sweet relief for our souls and renewal of our strength if we just go to Him and say, "These problems are too big for me. But they are not too big for You. I can't fix what needs fixing. I don't know how to change my circumstances. I am not able to change other people's hearts. But for You these things are easy. So I cast all my anxiety and cares upon You, knowing You care for me. I have entrusted my eternal soul to You, therefore I also will entrust my problems to You. Like King David, I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly to see what You will do. (Psalm 5:3) Thank You for daily bearing my burdens, Father. (Psalm 68:19) Thank You for being my refuge in times of trouble. Amen."

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