God has ingrained in us a desire for authentic and meaningful relationships. It’s therefore no surprise that we find great joy in living life deeply with those in our family, church and community. In these relationships we enjoy lots of laughs, make lots of memories, and always have a story to tell. No doubt, the deeper we love, the more we enjoy one another. But, there’s also a greater potential for pain. Losing someone we love dearly is heartbreaking. The holidays are often very difficult times for many who’ve lost loved ones.
Where do we turn in such difficult times? Where do we look to find hope and strength?
I’m sure you know what I’m going to say…we turn to the Lord. Don’t let the predictability of the answer keep you from beholding the hope-filled truths of our majestic God, who alone is able to encourage and sustain us. Isaiah 40 reminds us of the greatness of God. May we find hope and strength as we look to him and his great power.
Isaiah 40 clearly demonstrates God’s majesty. We’re told that God holds the waters of this world in the hollow of his hand (v. 12). Imagine, all the waters of every ocean, river, stream, and pond being held in God’s hand! We’re told that he names each star. We can’t even count the stars, but God knows them by name. And, because he is great in power, not a single star goes missing (vv. 25-26).
This great God is the one caring for his people.
But, in v. 27 God’s people ask two questions of God: Is my way hidden from God (does God see me)? Has my way been disregarded by God (has he abandoned me)? In the midst of hardship, we might find ourselves asking these things of God. I am thankful for how these questions are answered in vv. 28-31:
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Does God See Me?
Isaiah reminds us that God is the everlasting God, the one who created everything. Nothing escapes him in all his creation. He never gets tired, never takes a nap, and never lets someone else run the universe while he goes on break. He’s God. His understanding is unsearchable. We might not understand, but he does. And yes, he knows what we are going through.
Has God abandoned me?
If it’s true that God sees us, then why are we hurting? Has he abandoned us? Has he put us in the midst of difficulty only to leave us to be overcome by our grief and sorrows?
In v. 29 we’re promised that God does not leave his people to struggle on our own. He gives power to the faint. To the one who lacks might, he gives strength. You might think you are not strong enough to face this on your own. You’re right. You are not strong enough, and neither am I. However, there’s good news: God is bigger than anything we face, even in our darkest hour and deepest pain. Scripture does not tell us to look within ourselves for strength, but rather to look to the Lord. He has not left us alone. One of the most encouraging promises in Scripture is that he will never leave nor forsake his people (Heb. 13:5).
Wait on the Lord
In v. 31 we are told we can have our strength renewed, we can mount up with wings like eagles, and we can run without getting tired. What great truths! So, how do we get such great strength?
By waiting on the Lord.
We wait on God by living in confident expectation of his mercy and strength. It’s a hopeful waiting; it’s an active and expectant waiting. We wait on the Lord by drawing near to him for strength. Sometimes, in dark and difficult moments, we wait on the Lord for strength to do something seemingly as simple as getting out of bed.
Believer, wait on the Lord today. When you feel strong, know that you’re only truly strong when you’re depending on his strength. But, when you feel weak, be encouraged that strength comes from God, who is a very present help in times of struggle. Wait on him today with a hopeful expectation. His strength is powerful enough to move the mountains and hold the seas in his hand. He doesn’t promise to remove our pain or provide a “quick fix,” but he does promise to provide the strength and hope we need to endure it. He can handle our grief and sorrows, and he will continue giving us the grace and strength we need for each moment. He loves us.