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 to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they 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 40:28-31 ESV)
On day 31 of our devotion, we talked about true rest. In fact, several times throughout this devotional series we’ve talked about rest. I believe rest leads to things like peace, refreshment, rejuvenation, renewal, and reenergizing. In our focal scripture we see a contrast between the everlasting God and us. It is important for this contrast to paint the correct picture of God, His character, nature, and provision. When we begin to realize who God is, who we are through faith in Christ, and His incredible provision for us, we can’t help but be drawn near.
Notice what the Prophet Isaiah says: even youths shall faint and be weary. Even young men shall fall exhausted. The youthfulness that normally indicates strength, energy, passion, and endurance will eventually fail to sustain even the most physically and emotionally fit among us. In contrast, God is the Creator of the ends of the earth. God Himself does not faint; He never grows weary. Even the best, brightest, and strongest among us pale in comparison to the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Now, notice the provision of our unsearchable God. He, God, gives power to the faint and to those who have no might of their own He gives strength! My oh my church, what an incredible picture! I once had an English teacher rightly tell me that I use too many exclamation points in my writing. Please forgive me, but I can’t help getting excited. The God who has everything and needs nothing graciously and freely pours out His blessings in our lives. The incredible truth is, God isn’t holding anything back from you. God has already given everything good and wonderful in His Son Jesus. (see Romans 8:32)
If God is all powerful, all knowing, and gracious towards us, why are some of us weak, weary, tired, and exhausted? Because we need to “come” (see Matthew 11:28). Don’t worry, God’s provision is endless and limitless. You can’t buy it, earn it, or deserve it. God’s abundant provision comes through faith in Christ, but we still need to come! When I find myself overwhelmed and exhausted, I realize once again, I’ve been trying to do life on my own.
Notice how Isaiah contrasts; the word but compares those who faint, are weary, and fall exhausted with those who wait for the Lord. Question, are you waiting for the Lord? In the Scripture Jesus tells us that as His followers we should pick up our cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). Try to visualize this with me: often I pick up my cross and take off in a dead sprint. In these moments, I run right past Jesus and end up tired, burdened, and weary. Often when I reflect, I realize that I missed a key piece, I took my eyes off Jesus and ran ahead.
I’m going to share a hard truth with you, Jesus isn’t in a hurry. Here is a little homework for you, read through the Gospels and see how often the writers record Jesus getting in a hurry. Find a single mention of Jesus running. Look for a scenario where Jesus was impatient or distracted. You can read all four Gospels, but you aren’t going to find it. In all our good intentions, sometimes we just forget to wait on the Lord.
What happens when we rightly fix our eyes on Jesus and wait on the Lord? That’s where Isaiah ends our focal scripture. The Lord will renew our strength. We will run and not be weary, we will walk and not faint. This life is a marathon, not a dead sprint. Some of you are out here running at full strength but you keep losing steam. You find yourself consistently growing weary and tired. You keep pushing harder, faster, more of you. When you get to the end of you, you’ll have no choice but to wait. What a silly cycle we find ourselves in.
As we end today’s devotion, there is a question that should be in the forefront of your mind. How do we “wait on the Lord?” I’m glad you asked. First, we need to admit our continual, daily need for God. We need to surrender ourselves to the Lord (our will, our pride, our independence). We need to admit that God’s timing doesn’t look like ours. We need to stop trying to run ahead or in front of Jesus and instead just follow Him. We need to pray that God would help us turn our eyes and heart to Jesus and keep our eyes fixed on Him.
When we find ourselves weary, exhausted, and burdened, we need to learn to stop. In fact, if you find yourself there today, I want to challenge you to stop. Pray and ask God: “Lord, am I following you or something or someone else?” Since Jesus promises that His burden is easy and His yolk is light (see day 31 of our devotion), if the burden you are bearing is not easy, is it from God? Finally, be honest and humble. Be honest about your own weakness, limitations, and need for Jesus. Be humble enough to come to God in your time of need for mercy and grace (see Hebrews 4:16). Then, wait on the Lord.
As we close, may these two verses from the classic hymn Leaning on the Everlasting Arms remind us where our true rest comes from:
What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
leaning on the everlasting arms;
what a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
leaning on the everlasting arms.
What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
leaning on the everlasting arms.
Father, I confess that I don’t wait well. Lord, I run ahead of You instead of simply following You. Jesus, I confess that I get in a hurry and don’t always understand, respect, or trust Your timing. Please help me begin to sense that You are always right on time. Holy Spirit, please convict me when I am not waiting on You. Please grab my attention before I find myself weary and exhausted. Please teach me to wait patiently and trust in Your plan. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.