Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

5. Comforting Strength – Part 4

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Isaiah 40:10-12; 26-31

10 Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power. He will rule with a powerful arm. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes. 11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young. 12 Who else has held the oceans in his hand? Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers? Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale?

26 Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing. 27 O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? 28 O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights? “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 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”

Not only did Isaiah tell of an everlasting comfort and speak about the everlasting Word of God, but thirdly, Isaiah spoke of an everlasting strength. Isaiah wrote: “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 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 40:28-31. Those who were in exile had lost hope, as a result they had lost focus on who their eternal Father was and what He could do, which undermined their desire to go on. Even the young were beaten down, weary and defeated. But those who placed their hope and trust in God did not lose heart, and so did not lose strength. Notice that this was regardless of their age. Their hearts and minds soared because they were focused on the promises of what God had said He was going to do. When we focus on the promises of God we end up focused on the power of God instead of the problems. As they thought about what God was going to do, new strength and courage entered their hearts and began to affect their bodies. They gained a new enthusiasm for life and a new strength to go on. But you never experience and gain that strength unless you are willing to wait on the Lord. Our problem is that we want the wings we just don’t want the waiting. But you can’t have the power without the patience. Many of us a weary today because instead of waiting, we are worrying and working. Until you learn to rest in the Lord you will always run, it will be based on what you can do not what God can do. Waiting on God is never a waste, and waiting is not inactivity it is active trust. We would all like to mount up with wings like eagles, but as someone has said, “It’s hard to soar with the eagles when you are surrounded by turkeys.” But the truth is that is really just a cop out. When God shows up it doesn’t matter who is around you. There is a story about a young boy who spent the summer with his grandfather. As he and his grandfather were out in the field one day they found a small bird. It was strange looking and they didn’t know what it was at first. They named him Ernie and took him home to show to grandma. Grandma put him with a mother hen and her brood of chicks. As it turned out, Ernie was an Eaglet. It wasn’t long until Ernie was larger than the chickens, and it was apparent he was different, even though he had picked up some of the mannerisms of the chickens. But one sunny afternoon the father eagle saw Ernie eating corn down on the farm with some strange white birds. The father eagle began to soar in circles above the farm, and then began to spiral downward while calling out for Ernie. Ernie’s head lifted as he heard something that resonated deep within him. Instinctively he began to spread his wings. Suddenly he was flying, and he began to soar in response to his father’s call. Ernie had within him the spirit of an eagle. The chicks heard the father eagle’s call as well, but they only chirped in response and continued to eat their corn on the ground. But Ernie had a higher calling. He was destined to soar. Chickens and turkeys can fly, but they rarely do because they are most comfortable on the ground. Sparrows and other small birds fly, but they mostly use their wings to get from one tree to another. But eagles soar, they have great power and freedom. They do this not in their own power but by using thermal pockets of warm air. How much of our lives do we try to stay aloft in our own strength by frantically flapping our wings and how much do we soar not in our strength but His? Are you allowing His power and strength to sustain you? Eagles were destined for the skies and like them, we have a different Spirit in us than those who are content to crawl around and be ground dwellers. We have a higher calling, and because God’s Spirit is in us He calls us to come and soar with him. Just because we are Christians does not necessarily mean we are using our wings. Many of us have settled for living a comfortable life on the ground instead of a courageous one soaring in the sky. Some of us are trying to live in-between comfort and courage by living a cautious life. Like the sparrows we flit from one place to another, neither doing life on the ground but neither soaring in the sky. But God has called us to soar and we do so by waiting on and trusting Him. By spreading out our wings and soaring on the strength He provides and not our own. Someone has said, “There are two lasting bequests we can give to our children. One is roots; the other is wings.” We can teach our children that there is a strength that comes from God that is greater than our own. We can teach them to wait on him and trust him, even when everything looks hopeless. We can teach them that Isaiah wrote about an everlasting strength, an everlasting hope, an everlasting comfort, an everlasting truth, an everlasting kingdom, and an everlasting God. But the best thing we can do is to show them the reality of God’s faithfulness as we model it in our lives. We will teach God’s principles to our children better through practicing them than just preaching about them. The greater gifts that we can give to the next generation are by being living examples of hope. Living sources of comfort, living proof of the reliability of God’s Word. Living examples of His strength as we mount up with wings like eagles and soar in the strength of His Spirit. So let me ask you whose strength are you living in today, the strength of self or the strength of God’s Spirit?

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