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September 15, 2019 | Doug Sauder
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“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”—Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)
Depending on your current season, this verse might be incredibly uplifting or incredibly discouraging for you. Over the last year, there has been plenty of prayer, fasting, and hoping, but no marked change in the areas I’ve been praying, fasting, and hoping for in my life . . .
At first, I didn’t really even want to write this devo. What do you do when you feel like your cries haven’t been heard, regardless of their eagerness? What do you do when you regularly read about God’s faithfulness and goodness or hear of it in the lives of others, but personally feel like parts of His Word don’t apply to you?
This might be a great time to exegete this devo’s verse and expound on the deep truths that didn’t carry over from the original Hebrew language. But not much is missed in the translation. The idea is that when we trust God, and wait or look for His timing, that He’s going to deliver us or lift us up in ways that no earthly thing can possibly do.
The word I’d use to characterize this last year is disappointment. This season of life has had some good times, some highs, but also some very low lows, and possibly even a midlife crisis (Is that even possible when you’re 31?). I’ve known and have had this verse memorized probably before I was even 10 years old, but lately it’s hard to read. It seems like a happy thought that just isn’t for me. But in the moments of greatest self-doubt and questioning, I’m faced with the basic reality that Jesus either rose from the dead and is God, that He is who He says He is, or that the Bible is false.
Here’s the thing: Even as I write this, as I ponder Isaiah 40:31 and what seems like a truth for someone else, as I reflect on what has been a rough year, the words of Peter in John 6:68–69 (ESV, emphasis added) become my words. Here, after a particularly hard and confusing teaching, Jesus asked His disciples if they wanted to leave, to which Peter responded, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
So, regardless of how I feel, or what answered prayer I can or can’t see, I can trust that God’s Word is true. When I can calm down and realize He is in control, then I can slowly begin to trust. My responsibility is to walk forward faithfully, being obedient to live how God commands and being the person he’s called me to be.
DIG: What does the rest of the chapter before this verse say?
DISCOVER: Read Exodus 19:1–6; Psalm 33:22, 86, 94:19; and 2 Samuel 22:30.
DO: Get into the Psalms. Slowly read one or two every day and try to put yourself into the shoes of the writer.