Friday, April 08, 2011
Today’s Topic: Rise Above It
Today’s Text: Isaiah 40:29-31 He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. 30Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up. 31But those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. (NLT)
I know what it is to be exhausted. I have given up when strength gave out. I remember the most blatant example of this from my high school days. I was a fairly good athlete, and I was very fast. I went to a very large high school in St. Paul, Minnesota until I was a senior in High School. I never had a chance to participate in any organized sports except summer fast-pitch softball in a church league. I had lots of baseball experience as a kid. But then things changed.
Our family moved to a very small town in North Dakota and it was expected that everyone would participate in sports. It was the end of the football season, so I didn’t have that chance. But when basketball season started I was right there. The first night of practice the coach informed us that we may not be the most talented team in the district, but we would be the most physically conditioned team. He assigned us our first conditioning drill – seventy laps around the gym and that included going up and down the bleachers. Fortunately there were only bleachers on one side of the gym, and they only went up eight rows, but seventy laps is 560 steps up and 560 steps down.
I had never done anything like that before. The rest of the guys who had played every year knew what to expect. I didn’t. I wasn’t prepared. After about forty laps I ran for the bathroom and pretended to be sick. I needed a break. I gave up for a moment. I came back and forced myself to run until the rest were done, but I did not do seventy laps. I was exhausted.
The next night of practice we ran another seventy laps. That was followed by three nights of running eighty laps. That was followed by being in the best shape of my life, and we literally ran other teams off the floor during games. Even if we lost the game, we could have played another one. I found a strength I never thought I could know.
I started out complaining. I ended up stronger. That is the contrast offered at the end of Isaiah chapter forty. Instead of looking around and complaining, we should be looking up and rising above what’s around us. We tend to wonder if God really cares about how we are wandering around in our current situation, and then we whine because we choose to believe He doesn’t. But there is an alternative – perseverance that produces power. When we are humble enough to admit our weakness, God offers strength. New strength. Fly high above your issues strength. Run without pain strength. Walk without fainting strength.
Sometimes it’s the mundane routine that gets to us. Walk without fainting in the strength of the Lord. Often it’s the stress of life’s race. Run in the strength of the Lord. Maybe your struggling with the constant noise of problems and issues in your personal life or because of the political situation around us. Rise up on wings like an eagle and soar above it all in the presence of the Lord.
Remember – turkeys can fly too, but they can’t soar. They weren’t designed to. But you are. Choose to be an eagle and leave the turkeys behind.