Our verse this week is from the prophet Isaiah. This was for the people of Israel at the time but speaks forward even for us today.
Oftentimes we see adults drag through day after day with unbelievable fatigue. It is almost like caffeine is the only thing keeping them from completely falling on the floor and taking a nap. But when we see this happen in a young person, we assume that there is something wrong or that they were out the night before doing something that they shouldn’t have been. Why is this? Clearly, this verse recognizes that this stigma is unfair and wrong. It points out that even young people get tired, and even stumble and fall! Not only is this talking about young people, but in the greek it is talking about young men who are chosen for battle. This is comparing and contrasting the most vigorous of the human race with God. It is trying to show us that while their strength will not last, the power of God is unexhausted and inexhaustible.
The phrase, “those who hope in the Lord” is also translated to “wait”. “those who wait on the Lord”. For the people who were being encouraged by this originally it was a proper waiting on the lord for deliverance from captivity…something that seemed like only an act of the Lord could supply. The same is true for us today as we wait on the Lord. Even though most of us don’t find ourselves in literal captivity, we often find ourselves being held captive by something other than God. We may feel tired, weak, shame, full of regret, hopeless, helpless, but this scripture points to something that can allow us to lay all of those feelings down and hold on to the TRUTH, that this is where God meets us; in our weakness.
When we read , “our strength shall be renewed” it literally means to change, to alter; and then to revive, to renew, to cause to flourish again. This is what it looks like to Hope in the Lord. We rise up and are changed…and then we flourish. We will be re-renewed over and over again. Because it is the strength of the Lord that carries us, not our own. We will grow tired and weary, then we will be renewed by the Lord. This life is clearly not something we can tackle and survive on our own.
We have created a culture where work never stops, our schedules are full, we become a slave to the calendar (and whatever we have put on it) and this is especially true in our universities. Right now you are experiencing a great deal of pressure to do well and set yourself up for the future. You are expected to hustle and grind and make something of yourself. Understand that some of this is okay, but it will wear us out, especially if we are not trusting God with our choices and our processes. And if we are not leaning into the leading of the Holy Spirit it is even harder.
Though this is not easy, God promises us that He will give us the strength we need and will renew it. When you feel like you are so tired that you cannot go on, actively put your trust in God and lean on Him and He will give you the strength to move forward.
What do you think it looks like to actively hope in the Lord? I believe that sometimes we need to pray out loud or journal to get our feelings and words outside of our brains and bodies. Maybe actively hoping in the Lord looks like you taking some time each day to pray through your day and asking God to meet you in each meeting or encounter you have and each assignment you need to do. Maybe it is taking the time to be honest with God about how your feel about your life and physically saying or writing down that you need him and that you don’t trust him, but you want to. Maybe it is taking some time with scripture and reading the many promises of God.
I don’t know what hoping in the Lord looks like for you this week, but just know that it is ACTIVE. It is also very, very promising.