Renewed Strength

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 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 40:30–31 (NIV)

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been one of the most challenging years on record. Between the COVID-19 pandemic, the national protests over racial injustice, the loss of lives and property amid natural disasters, and a tumultuous political season, it felt at times as if the year would never end.

But here we are at the cusp of a new year, wondering what 2021 will hold for us personally and collectively as a church and as a nation. If we’re honest, many of us have grown weary from all that we’ve experienced during the past 365 days—maybe even driven to depression or despair. So, when we read a verse like today’s passage in Isaiah, it makes us stop and think about how this promise applies to us.

Years ago, I used to misinterpret today’s verse, naively thinking if I’m really a good Christian, I’ll never get tired or grow weary in doing good. But that’s not what the prophet Isaiah is really saying.

First of all, Isaiah points out that even young people, who typically have loads of energy and enthusiasm, will eventually tire out and stumble during the course of life’s trials. The very next part of the verse says, “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength” (emphasis added). What does this imply? Well, if our strength needs to be replenished that means there will be times when we’ll be depleted of it.

But here’s the hope: When we turn our eyes heavenward toward Jesus, God promises to restore our strength so we can soar on the wind of the Spirit like eagles. It’s a kind of supernatural provision we can count on when we feel powerless. It’s what the apostle Paul was referring to in 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV) when he said, “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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.”

If you’re a Christian—someone who puts their hope in the Lord—and you feel tired and weary today, lift your eyes to the One who promises to give you His strength in exchange for your weakness. And keep running the race; keep fighting the good fight and be confident “that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6 NIV).

PAUSE: Take a moment to conduct an honest self-assessment. How are you feeling as the year draws to a close? Are you leaning more towards hopefulness or weariness?

PRACTICE: Read Matthew 11:28–30 (NIV) and invite Jesus to give you both rest and renewed strength for the days and year ahead.

PRAY: Father, thank You for promising to renew my strength as I put my hope in You for whatever lays ahead this next year. Fill me afresh with Your Spirit, so I can walk in Your strength and soar above any difficult circumstances I may face. In Jesus’ name, amen.”