Thursday, June 13, 2019

EmmDev 2019-06-13 [Keeping Going...] Strength


When things are tough, we can lose hope.

When we lose hope, we lose sight of God.

This happened to the Israelites while they were dragged off to exile in Babylon: Their world had changed, their leaders had fallen, their symbols of faith (temple, priesthood, worship) had been destroyed or pushed aside but the onslaught of a pagan society. They felt God-forsaken and God-abandoned.

It is easy for us to succumb to a similar sense of being overwhelmed. Our world is changing fast, traditional values are being questioned and often replaced, and our faith portrayed as irrelevant and unnecessary.

But the prophet Isaiah has good news: Our society may change. Our circumstances may change. But God will give us strength!

In his beautiful poem, Isaiah reminds us that human strength has its limits. Even youths get tired and even young legs stumble and fall.
But God does not get tired - After all, He created a universe that scientists tell us is still expanding!!

So Isaiah invites us to hope.
Hope is not a vague emotion based on circumstances, it is a choice.
The choice is not so much the act of hope, but the Object of our hope. We choose to put our hope, not in circumstances, but in God. It is not the vague longing that 'alles sal regkom' (everything will be alright) but the decision to hope in God.

And, if we choose to hope in the LORD, we will be given strength.

Just read Isaiah's powerful challenge and promise below...

Why do you say, O Jacob,
and complain, O Israel,
"My way is hidden from the LORD;
my cause is disregarded by my God"?
28 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.      (Isaiah40:27-31)

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