"He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary." (Isaiah 40:29-31)Have you ever become weary in your Christian walk? There have been times that I have. There have been times when I felt that I just couldn't go on any further. As I reflect back on those times, I realize that the reason for my weariness was that I was operating in my own strength. I was trying to live a Christian life by my own strength, not the strength that God gives. This scripture clearly teaches that, no matter how strong and vigorous we are in the natural, if we rely upon our own strength, we will get weary. Remember the time when Elijah was running away from King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. He fled to the desert and collapsed under a Juniper tree. Twice, as he lay there, an angel came and awoke him and provided food and water for the weary prophet. There the Angel of the Lord spoke to him, "Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you." (1 Kings 19:7) After eating the food that the Lord had provided, he "went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God." (1 Kings 19:8)
I have come to understand that the journey that God has called me to is too great for me. I have realized that I am not strong enough, brave enough, or wise enough to accomplish the work that God has appointed for me. If left to me, I would certainly fail and fall short of all that God has called me to be and to do. My only hope is to receive strength and nourishment from the Lord. Only by exchanging my weakness for His strength can I walk this Christian life.
What, then, is the secret to receiving the Lord's strength? We must "wait for the Lord." God is not talking about some kind of passive resignation. We are not just to sit back idly hoping that, some day, God may decide to answer our prayers. But it is an active watching, hoping, and expecting for God to answer us. The Hebrew word for wait literally means "to bind together." We must bind our hope and expectation to the Lord. The Lord is not just our plan "A", while we keep plan "B" just in case He does not answer us. God is our only hope and expectation. Without Him, we have no other option. We have no plan "B". We need Him and His strength.
We need to become people who watch, hope, and expect for the Lord. We need to move beyond just going through the motions to become people who know how to actively wait for the Lord. For example, when you study God's word, do you just plow through so that you can check off another day in your daily reading plan, or do you read with a listening heart to hear what God may say to you? When you worship, do you rush from song to song so that you can move on to some other activities, or do you worship with an expectancy of God moving in your midst? When you pray, is it just a list of requests that you send up to God, or do you pray with watching, that you might hear the Lord? We must come to see that our strength does not come from these spiritual disciplines, rather, our strength comes from finding the Lord in these disciplines. It is not enough to study, pray, and worship. These things alone will not strengthen our soul. But we must learn to "wait for the Lord" in these disciplines. To actively look for and pursue Him in them. It is this kind of "waiting" that will gain us "new strength".