The Weekly Epistle 6/5/24

Hi Living Hope,
A teacher asked her class of first graders the question, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” One little first grade girl answered, “Tired.” Know that feeling? I believe it was Flip Wilson who said, “If I had my whole life to live over again. I don’t think I’d have the strength.” Or as Samuel Butler put it, “Life is one long process of getting tired.” 

In a culture that worships productivity and busyness, rest is seriously downplayed. Staying busy doesn’t only describe the “workaholic.” It depicts the ones who run frantically from activity to activity. In Christian circles, we wear, “Busy” as a badge of honor. When asked, “How are you doing?” We answer, “Busy.” We can keep our kids busy playing a school sport, then AAU, then travel league and even a town rec league after that. Perhaps this is why 70% of kids burnout in a sport by the age of 14. But the point isn’t about participation in sports or some other extracurricular activity. 

The issue is how tired we are as a society. Is there rest to be found? This is tourism season. This is the time when many will flee to the coast or to the mountains or to the lakes with the hope that a change in scenery will calm their frayed nerves. Yet many return home weary, deflated, exhausted, and wondering how the rest they longed for has escaped them once again. 

The prophet Isaiah stated that, “Even youths grow tried and weary and young men stumble and fall” (Isaiah 40:30). So, the problem isn’t merely age. The ones we think of as never running out of energy (youths and young people), they at some point grow weary and tired. Even the energizer bunny will need his batteries replaced. 

What is it that we all need? Where can we go when we are tired and weary? Isaiah gives us the answer. “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” Only those who hope, or better translated “wait upon the Lord,” experience renewal. The only condition for receiving divine strength is waiting on the Lord for it. 

It is in God’s waiting room we can find strength. I was in a waiting room recently. Do you know what I noticed? People seem crabbier in the waiting room. It is all over their faces. Perhaps it was on my face as well. I don’t like to wait (ok, I said it). Waiting feels like a total disruption to my day. I have people to see and places to go. Who has time to wait? 

Waiting doesn’t always mean inactivity or passive resignation. It suggests we recognize our need for Him. It requires an admission of our own limitations and weaknesses. It reminds us of our dependence on Him to run the world and care for our problems. It puts into perspective our own self-importance. 

I was forced to slow down recently and, frankly, it drove me nuts. But it was right where God wanted me. It was there that God could renew my strength. The word picture that Isaiah uses is one of exchange. It is to replace our worn-out strength with new strength, divine strength. It is in our waiting that we can experience something supernatural. It is drinking from the living water that only Christ provides. It is when I am at my weakest that I can experience His grace that never runs dry. It is when I can admit my tiredness, then I am ready for the touch of God’s power in my life that causes me not only to survive but thrive; and to soar like wings on an eagle (see Isaiah 40:28-31). 

I wonder, “How often do I miss what God wants to do in me because I simply cannot wait?”

 Blessings, Pastor Brian