Strength For The Weary

Chaplain Jim Corbett
Director of Pastoral Care, Walker Baptist Medical Center

When Isaiah 40 was written, the people of Israel had been held captive in Babylon for several generations.  Lifetimes had been spent as captives in a foreign land.  We find these captives with doubts and deep weariness.  Where is God?  Has he forgotten us?  Will we be delivered?

Few of us have experienced what these captives in Babylon had, but we all experience weariness.  Weariness of trying to keep up with a world that seems to be moving faster and faster.  The weariness that comes from an illness that saps us of strength.  A family crisis as we cope with a loved one’s terrible illness.  The loss and grief for one we love.  This passage speaks to each of us whatever wearies us:

Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel,

“My way is hidden from the Lord,

and my right is disregarded by my God”?

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 strengthens the powerless.

Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted;

but those 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.

Isaiah 40: 27-31 (NRSV) 

The first time I remember hearing this passage was in a hospital in the early seventies, in traction with multiple fractures to my back.  I remember to this day the hope I experienced when this passage was read to me and caught my imagination.  God is here!  “Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength.”  Everyone grows weary, but God’s people are promised strength.

Prayer: Father, we give thanks for the strength you give to us when we reach the limits of our own strength.   In Christ name, Amen.

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