Hi everyone. Rob here.
Isaiah 40:28-31 says this,
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.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 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.
This is a time of year when the demands of the world can seem relentless. There is the pressure to ‘get things done before Christmas.’ In leadership positions there is the desire to finish the year well, but also be planning for next year. Schools have their various end of year functions and celebrations. Students face exams. Then there’s the hidden pressure of Christmas and the desire to please everyone. Have you got your summer holiday planned? Then there’s usually a crisis or two to navigate as well. It’s no wonder that most people I talk to are already tired! How do we care for our hearts at a time like this?
This passage from Isaiah 40 tells me that God wants our hearts to soar. For that to happen the prophet tells us to put our ‘hope in the Lord.’ I could hope for a sunny summer and a great holiday. I could hope that I have enough energy to finish the year well and still be a great host for our family gathering. But unless I put my hope in the Lord all those other hopes will be in vain. We are asked to locate our hope in the goodness, the kingdom, the character, the love and mercy of our God.
Two things have been helping me do that lately. One is I’ve been focusing on “the renewal of all things;” the great hope of the coming kingdom of God. The second is that I’ve been allowing my heart to soar in worship. One of the temptations when we’re busy is to become very focused on the here and now. It’s a survival tactic. It’s how we get done what we need to get done. But if we get stuck in that mode our heart will harden and shrivel. We’ll fail to handle disruption and inconvenience. We may achieve the to-do list but we’ll lose some of our humanity in the process.
Think of it as climbing a mountain. To make it to the top you have to focus on your steps. You have to have your head down and make sure of your footing, You need to breathe evenly and use your energy well. But you also need to pause, look around and savour the view. You need to soak in the perspective and clarity that the journey is giving you. You need to check in with your fellow climbers and enjoy the fact that you’re not climbing alone. You need to breathe in the Spirit of God who calls you onwards and upwards. You need to know in your heart that the destination is worth it. Yes, the steps are hard to take at times, but every step is led by a guide who has already taken the journey. Jesus is our guide, our strength and our hope. What’s true for Jesus is true for us so let him lead you.
To push the analogy, oxygen can feel very thin this time of year. But the Spirit of God is also the Breath of God. Let his breath fill yours. Let your heart soar with hope. Everyone gets tired, but God wants us to live in his strength, not ours. So take a breath. Look around. The renewal of all things is near. Take the next step and may God be your hope and your joy.