September 18, 2017 • Life for Leaders
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.
When I was in my early 20s, I jogged for exercise on a fairly regular basis. One day I thought I’d try to run a marathon. There wasn’t an official race. I just decided to see if I could run 26.2 miles.
I felt great for the first half of my solo marathon. By 15 miles I was getting pretty tired. Then, at 18 miles I “hit the wall,” as they say. In fact, I’m sure I was completely dehydrated, since I didn’t drink any fluids during my run. (Yes, I now realize that was really foolish!) I stumbled along for the last 2 miles of my run, about 6 miles short of my goal. I never again tried to run a marathon!
Even though I was young and in fairly decent shape, my strength was limited. I served as a perfect illustration of Isaiah 40:30: “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall.” But that’s not the end of Isaiah’s thought. He contrasts the waning endurance of youth with the endless strength of those who hope in the Lord. The Hebrew verb translated here as “hope” also carries the sense of “waiting.” Isaiah’s point is that if we trust in God, even when God seems to delay, we will find strength to persevere in life, even to soar.
Do you feel tired and weary today? Do you worry that you might stumble and fall? Then why not put your hope in the Lord? Why not choose to wait upon him? I’m not suggesting this is always easy. It’s certainly not for me. But the promise of God through Isaiah encourages us to turn fully to the Lord, to wait for his provision, to hope in him even when we feel hopeless. God will strengthen us for all that lies ahead.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
What exhausts you physically? Emotionally? Spiritually?
Have you ever experienced the strength that comes from trusting in God? When?
For what challenges in life do you need God’s strength today?
Gracious God, thank you for the strength you give us. Thank you for helping us be courageous when we’re afraid, patient when we’re irritated, and kind even when we’re mistreated. Thank you for empowering us to serve you in this world, gifting us through your Spirit. Thank you for helping us to endure suffering, to remain hopeful when people around us have been snared by cynicism.
Help me, dear Lord, to trust in you more each day. When you don’t do what I’d like, or when you don’t act according to my timetable, may I wait with patience and confidence. As I hope in you, may I receive the gift of your strength, so that I might keep on hoping, serving, and praying. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary: Monday Morning Faith: A New Source of Power at Work (Luke 8 and Colossians 4 Sermon Notes)
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.