Tag Archives: isaiah 40:31

Finding New Strength

If you Google the word “exhausted,” you’ll get a definition that says, “Drained of one’s physical or mental resources; very tired.” Does that word describe you right now? Our bodies can be so physically drained that they refuse to get up in the mornings, to lift the heavy objects you want to move, or to get where you need to go. Our mind can get so stressed and drained that it’s hard to care about things or even make an effort in a relationship where one is needed. Exhausted is a dangerous state of being that we need to avoid.

God recognizes that you and I can get exhausted. In Isaiah 40:29 it says, “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless” (NLT). The word power in its original context meant ability. The word weak translates as exhausted. So when you read it like that, God gives ability to those who are exhausted. God wants to help us when we’ve lost the ability to accomplish things because we are exhausted, especially the things He’s called us to do.

I can attest to the fact that the work God calls you and I to can be very exhausting mentally and physically. He knows that if we are exhausted, we won’t accomplish His will. The 31st verse tells us, “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength” (NLT). We can’t go about the Father’s business in our own strength or mental fortitude if we want to be effective long term. We must trust that God will give us ability where we have none, strength where we are weak, and hope when we are in despair.

God asks us to do things that are beyond our ability so that we will trust Him. He’s interested more in your obedience and willingness than in your strength and intellect. He doesn’t need you in order to accomplish anything, yet He chooses to partner with you to enact His will. If you’re willing to step out in faith and to trust Him, He’s willing to give you the ability and strength you lack. You can be exhausted from doing all your other duties and still have the strength to do what God wants as long as you put your trust in Him.

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Haiti Day 3: God Refreshes Us

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Exhausted. Tired. Wore out. These words aren’t strong enough to describe how this team felt at the end of yesterday. Have you heard the saying, “Leaving it all out on the field”? That’s what this team did yesterday. They worked their hearts out in the hot, Haitian sun. They gave everything that was in them to these orphans and God has rewarded them. When they were tired, they kept going. When they wanted to take a break, the kids kept coming up for love. At the end of the day, everyone was talking about an early bedtime.

We started by eating an early breakfast. We separated into three teams who each had a different purpose and team leads. We loaded the trucks with the supplies we needed for the day’s work and then headed to the Gonaives orphanage. As we pulled up, you could hear the excitement in the children on the other side of the gate. We went over the plan one more time before the gates were opened. As we walked in, the kids grabbed our hands and asked to be held. We sat down with them and then explained we had a surprise for them.

On my last trip, we took many of these children out to Myan to see the new orphanage and to play with them. They’ve heard stories about that orphanage so we thought we’d introduce them. As they walked around it, many kept talking about how nice it was. One even asked if they had TV’s. They began comparing it to their home. So on this trip, we decided we would paint their home and make it look nice. They cheered when they heard the news. We told them that they were going to go play with one team while the other two painted.

After painting the window frames and trim all day, I met with the missionaries and we decided to take the team to the ocean to swim and cliff dive. We made the drive winding down a dirt road through the beautiful scenery. It took about an hour to get there. We unloaded and then had to walk down a beach and over a half mile of boulders with jagged edges. Our knees and hands were skinned up. Our bodies were covered in paint. As hard as it was to get there, we all made it to the cliff. People who were tired became exhausted. The ocean waves became more difficult to swim in as the tide came in.

Jumping off the cliff into the water was fun though. It was an exhilarating reward for the work it took to get there. I jumped off with my sister in law. We were among the last to jump. We counted to three and over the side we went. It seemed like forever until we hit the water. When we did, we must have gone under around 20 feet. It took a while to come back up. When we did, I grabbed her and we decided to try to swim around a big rock and head for shore. The more we tried, the harder it got. Fear set in. Hopelessness started to creep up. Our exhaustion was beginning to overpower us. The waves and current were stronger than we could manage and the group had already moved on.

We made our way to a rock. The edges cut our hands as we tried to hold onto it. The waves hot us and pushed us into it time and time again. We stopped and prayed for peace, wisdom and safety. She said, “We have to get on this rock.” I made my way up it and pulled her up too. We then started to make our way back to the rocks that would lead us to the group. We got the attention of one of them and he stayed back to help us navigate through the boulders. She said, “Jumping was the easy part.” If you’ve ever stood on a 30 foot cliff and thought about jumping, you know the first time isn’t easy.

We arrived home, changed clothes and went to dinner. The team was beginning to ask if we could just have our nightly devotion at the restaurant. We toyed with it, but decided it was best to keep the routine. We arrived home and headed for the balcony. As we began to sing the first song, I recognized there was something different about this service. During the second song, one of the missionaries spoke what God told him. We began to push into God’s presence despite our exhaustion. We sang louder than before. Our hearts opened wider to receive from God. People stood in the street and watched as we worshiped corporately.

Mike Reizner spoke up and shared how in Acts 4 it talks about the disciples praying and being filled with the Holy Spirit. They had already been filled in Acts 2. Why did it mention that they were filled again? It was because when you give out what is in you, you need to be filled again and again. We had given everything in us and all needed to be filled up again. We were on empty. One by one people walked into the middle and we prayed over them. The presence of God was thick and refreshing. We could have stayed on that balcony all night singing and praying.

As I spoke to them, I remembered what Isaiah 40:31. It reads, “He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon GOD get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind (MSG).” I recited it to them and reminded them how tired we all were. No one wanted to go to bed at that point. Everyone was energized by God’s presence. We refreshed and renewed. We’ll need it because we are only half way done.

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How To Recharge

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As I look at how much my job requires of me, I also look at how much other people’s jobs require of them. I can’t think of any time in my life when I’ve seen people work harder, more hours and put their jobs above their families than now. The consensus seems to be that if you don’t put in the hours and hard work, there are a hundred other people waiting in line to do your job. So we work so hard that days will go by without us ever seeing the sun. We go to work before it comes up and go home after it goes down.

When we get home, we have family to attend to. The kids want your attention and they need help with homework. Your spouse wants to tell you all about their day while you eat dinner from a sack. Once you’re done with dinner, you do a couple of things around the house, put the kids to bed and sit down for the first time. You’re exhausted. You just want a moment to breathe. You just want to be able to hear yourself think, but now it’s time for you to go to bed and start all over again tomorrow.

When I get that way, I like to think of Isaiah 40:30-31. It says, “He (God) energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to drop outs. For even young people tire and drop out… But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.” To me, that’s like a breathe of fresh air. God will energize those who get tired. God will give me strength. All I have to do is wait on God. All I have to do is spend some down time for Him by carving out time in my crazy schedule. That may mean that I have to cut out something I really want to do in order to get recharged.

My son has a Leap Pad which he calls his iPad. Every couple of days the batteries die. He gets upset because he thinks it should just keep going. I have to pull the batteries out, put them in the charging station and let them sit there for a while. After some time, they’re back to full strength and he can play once again. We’re a lot like rechargeable batteries. We can only go so long before we run out of strength. God didn’t make us machines. He made us human. He made us to need to be recharged.

When I need to recharge, I simply pull myself out of everything and go spend quiet time with God. I go wait on Him to speak to me. I looked up that word “wait” in the original Hebrew. It means, “to look eagerly for, to wait for, linger for.” God wants us to just linger in His presence without saying a word, without checking our phones and without interruption so we can center our mind on Him instead of everything else that’s going on. When He is at the center, our lives will be centered. When our thoughts are on Him, our problems don’t seem so big. When we wait on Him, we show Him He is first in our lives and we get re energized. If you’re tired today, the way to recharge is to spend time with God.

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