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Who begins the week hoping that hardships await? Who longs for distress and discomfort? No one wants that achy feeling in the pit of their stomach as they wonder if they can go on any longer. No one wants a perpetual burden pressing down on their chest, feeling as if they have come to the end of their rope. What do you do when you feel like giving up?
I can imagine that most people can relate with those thoughts. If you have lived long enough to see death and destruction, calamity and chaos, war and sickness, then you know there is something inside you that longs for the Lord to return. There is something inside you that echoes John’s words, “Come quickly.” Let’s just be done with this part because it can be so painful.
I believe the Lord gives us a wide spectrum of emotions. I believe that even in our desperation glory can be given to God. When I read Psalms, I hear David’s fear, understand his frustrations, and identify with his feelings of weakness.
I’m reminded of the time that we were preparing to return home for our most recent furlough. We were planning to take a scenic route to the United States on a wooden boat built here on a little Southeast Asian beach.
Yes, you read that correctly: a wooden boat. I love sailing, I love salt water, and I love my family, so it seemed as if this would be a great combination. However, it was such a challenge, and we hadn’t even started our journey yet.
I am sure some of the burden I was feeling had to do with the timing. I don’t know if it was because I was longing to be back with my family and friends in the United States. I don’t know if it was because I could almost smell the fresh cut hay on my grandpa’s farm. I don’t know if it was because I was so close to hugging all my nephews and nieces. Maybe it was because I couldn’t wait to walk through the door of my childhood home and smell my mom’s mashed potatoes. Whatever it was, it seemed like this task set before me was so overwhelming.
Though the boat wasn’t quite ready to sail, I was persuaded to not give up. A few days earlier, while drying out our bedding for the third time due to leaky decks, I shook my head, wondering why I wasn’t on a jetliner heading to the Emerald Coast of Florida. A verse popped in my head, a verse I memorized as a child.
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)
Morgan looked up from patching the bilge and said, “Mom, I was thinking about sand paper.” The boys had sanded and sanded and sanded some more. “This situation is a lot like sand paper. Sand paper is rough, and I don’t like using it, but when it has done its job, you end up with something beautiful. These few rough weeks of getting the boat livable are going to be worth it because we are going to have the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful parts of the world. And all these things we [he and his brothers] are doing are just preparing us for what we are going to do. For example, Kian is learning to do electrical work. If we are missionaries one day, we are going to need these skills.”
So even though I felt like jumping ship at the time, I was struck with the beautiful fact that, even in this situation, I don’t strive in vain like the ungodly. I don’t wander through life without purpose. I have hope in the Lord, in Yahweh. I have the promise from Him that when things are difficult, when I feel weary, that He will renew my strength.
I love the picture that Isaiah paints because we have all felt tired and weary in spirit. We have all stumbled and fallen in our faith, but the strength that we receive in turn give us strength not to just get by but to soar! It is beautiful to know that we are cared for by the most-high God.
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