During our time of musical worship Sunday, I got the sense that some of you may have felt alone, confused, and lost in a dark place in life. So, during our moments of quiet after the sung worship, I shared that intuition and invited anyone who had been experiencing that to open their hands to God and allow him to breathe hope into their lives. I felt that God wanted to strengthen us.
Over the last few days, I’ve heard from a few of you who identified with that. You expressed that you needed an opportunity to receive hope from God because you felt discouraged, confused, and lacking direction. And, in that moment, you experienced God’s presence, his hope rising in you. I find it no coincidence, then, that in yesterday’s Daily Office Lectionary, we hear the prophet Isaiah speaking to the nation of Israel, and to us:
“Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God?’ 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” (40:27).
Don’t we feel sometimes that our way is ‘hidden’ from God? That our little problems don’t really matter to him because he is so mighty, so powerful, and we’re just… well, we’re us? I know I do. And I take great comfort in God’s word to us in this passage. In my own life, I find that I sometimes just have to be still, to quit striving, and let God handle the situation. Listen to what Isaiah says later in the same chapter:
“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.”
The power in this image is the eagle’s effortless soaring above the earth. If you’ve ever watched an eagle soar, you know that it rides on waves of air, thermals, that project up from the surface of the earth. God’s renewing strength and hope to us is the same. And to receive it and be present to his saving help, we have to be still, and be in a posture to receive it. Just as the eagle has to have his wings spread wide to ride those thermals, so we have to “wait for the Lord.” If you are running low on strength this week, cry out to the Lord, and wait for him to renew your strength. “He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength” (Isa 40:29).