“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 40:31
The Concise Oxford English Dictionary gives several meanings for the word “but” such as nevertheless, on the contrary, other than, otherwise than, except, apart from. In other words, there is a different twist to what is happening. Today, many have to come to the “but juncture” in their lives – “I was, but I’m not anymore.”
On the other hand, waiting is far from being easy. The lyrics to the gospel song “Waiting Down Here” by Simeon Outten says “I’m waiting down here at the river Lord Jesus … Satan don’t want me to cross … if you don’t come to my rescue I’ll be lost.”
And then Jesus asks the man sitting at the pool at Bethesda how long he had been waiting to be healed and his reply was 38 years! Many of us have been waiting for some things to happen positively in our lives for a long time. Why, just recently a single mother of six at the age of 76 told me that God could still send someone to marry her. Oh, for a faith that will not shrink!
Our lesson text for today is filled with hope and great expectations, but it is only for those who have the patience, the endurance, the humility, the soundness of mind and spirit. It is amazing also that out text is at the very last verse. It is almost like the last day of the month, and you had been praying for a breakthrough and the answer comes on the last day, which is the day of decision.
It was nothing but gloom and doom for Israelites as they were living in Babylon and not in Jerusalem. They were captives and suffered persecution and hardships because of their disobedience to the God who had brought them out of the wilderness; but the 40th chapter of Isaiah begins with a light at the end of a dark tunnel: “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”
I often wonder when some people quote “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” if their faith has found a resting place, and not going around weeping because tears won’t allow them to see that their day of joy has arrived.
Yes, we have been going through some trying and testing times, but in every storm that may arise in our lives the answer is with the word “peace”. I was walking past a group of men who were seated playing games and I thought just to stop and just give a blessing.
As I approached a few men standing observing the game gave me the elbow greeting. One of the men who was seated, but not in the game, promptly twisted his body and put his hands in his lap and I told him that I got his message me. I don’t know who the gentleman was, but the hatred that spewed from his lips at me and of my late father, made me sad to see how our land has become contaminated with the evil presence of hate. Oh, for grace to learn how to wait.
Today, we present the Word of God to those who have been despised and rejected, let down, put down, discredited, evicted, dispossessed by heartless lenders, denied of opportunities, misrepresented and discouraged, tossed, driven and turned about, your breaking of a new day is here because you waited on the Lord and not the law.
God is our refuge and strength and a very present help in time of trouble. God is our bridge over troubled waters. God is our provider, protector our elector. We are pilgrims, but our destination of arrival for what God has in store for us is not coming, but is here.
Praise be to God for those who stood fast on expectation and anticipation, for your waiting has not been in vain.