March 18, 2012

God’s ways are not our ways

Sometimes, even after a long night of sleep, the stress of life makes morning seem like evening. The fatigue of stress remains, urging a return to the pillow and begging for more rest. I’m almost certain it is to this weariness that the Bible speaks.
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)
Whether stress, or my slowed-down heart rate, or some side effects from heart medications, I’ve felt tired the past few days, the kind of fatigue that makes you feel like a nap could happen at any given moment. Yet this is beyond a physical tiredness. 

Instead, it feels more like spiritual fatigue that happens whenever I’m doing battle with the Liar. Besides the usual attacks on my praying, last week and today, my ladies’ class is studying spiritual warfare. The enemy does not like the exposure. He would rather I didn’t go to church and certainly prefers that we do not look at those verses in Scripture that reveal his methods and disabling schemes. So he hammers me with all sorts of nasty things. Those attacks contribute to this weariness.
Yet God is not weary. His strength never fails, and not only that, He is able to give a portion to those who feel faint and unable to go on. He grants might to the weak and renewal to those who wait on Him. 

The Hebrew word for “wait” is related to a cord used for binding. The root of it is to bind together, perhaps by twisting or gathering together. It is also translated to look, to be patient, to tarry. Waiting is refusing to go ahead without being bound together with the Lord, relying on Him for whatever I need. 

Besides that, God uses weakness. He makes it the catalyst that pushes His people to wait on Him, rely on Him. These verses remind me of what happened to Paul who felt great weakness from an unidentified source that he called a “thorn in the flesh.” He asked God to take it away, but God had other ideas, and Paul learned a valuable truth.
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9–10)
Weakness and fatigue are not my enemies. Trying to run my life in my own strength is a far greater deterrent to spirituality than being tired. When I feel energetic, I’m more apt to also feel full of myself, forging ahead without waiting on the Lord. While He promises to renew my strength, as Paul learned, the renewed strength He gives is not mine, but His. 

Oh Lord, this has happened before, many times. And You always keep Your promise. Sometimes, the weaker I feel and the more dependent I am from fatigue and weakness, the greater I’m astonished by Your strength that helps me do whatever You have asked me to do. Feeling incompetent and unable is not pleasant, nor do I welcome this sense of helplessness, yet You teach me to embrace it, be content with it. It is the secret to being strong.

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