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God is Our Strength

 He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless - Isaiah 40:29

By Benjamin H. Liles

          Have you ever felt so powerless, weary, and faint to the point you feel you can't go on? I know a debate is being waged against God and His word. We can get so discouraged by people and life that we feel God's Book--the Bible--is the last thing we need. God tells us differently with this one passage from Isaiah. "Come to me, you who are weary," the sentence looks like it says. "Give to me your weariness, your powerlessness and see what I can do," He finishes. So, what exactly are we to do when God calls us?

          The first thing is God doesn't expect us to be the prize winner of Cork County fair. He's not looking for people who have it all straightened out and perfect. Paul says this: "But [the risen Christ] said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me" (2 Corinthians 12:9, Berean Study).

          Think on that. Christ is the One who tells Paul, "My power is perfected in weakness." This matches what Isaiah says in this verse. So, if Christ wanted a people who were perfect, why is it He says to the leaders of the day: "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners" (Mark 2:17, New American Standard)? He came to save that which was lost; He came so that "the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with skin diseases are healed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news" (Luke 7:22b, Holman Christian Standard).

          I could make this a whole theological argument and show reasons why we ought to come to Lord Jesus. But what good would that do? Nothing. It is vanity in and of itself. Yes, I am trying to reason this out, but to also show you--the reader--how much God's desire is for you. You can't see what you want to see, who God is? Allow Him to restore your sight. You can't walk to your Bible, to open it up and read the words? Let Him heal those painful areas so you can leap for joy!

         Take it from some one whose eyesight is already terrible as it is. Take it also from some one who has to take it easy in walking, for I have a bad hip and a bad knee. God doesn't care about something you truly feel terrible for. He's like the father of the Prodigal Son: longing for a child he tenderly loves, desiring to give him the best once more. What God cares about is your restoration. He cares more for you and what you're going through far more than He cares about what you did five minutes ago. Does He hate sin? Oh, indeed He does. It will be dealt with, just not in the way or manner you think He will. But God cares so much more for you. How much?

          If we were to put sin on trial, and its effects death, before God--He would condemn it out right. You, on the other hand, God cares more so. "But the God of the Old Testament..." Hear me out. If God was so very wrathful and angry at mankind for every little thing, why are there tons and scores of verses about His mercy? Verses like:
  • "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion" (Exodus 33:19).
  • "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions (wrongs, sins, iniquity). Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin" (Psalm 51:1-2).
  • "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love" (Psalm 103:8).
  • "Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy" (Micah 7:18).
  • "Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity" (Joel 2:13).
          Can we see how much God doesn't desire to send punishment out on those who are His? He uses His long arm in dispensing judgment to show us how truly far away we are from Him. We need to remember how much He knows us. He knows us so well that He knows exactly how to get our attention. For some of us we turn around and come to our senses even if it takes a while for us to do.                                  
                                     
          For others, it's like having to keep calling out and saying, "Watch out!" over and over and over again, until these people actually turn around. Then there's that last group. They think they know better. They are so far gone, not caring a whit about God any more. They have completely forgotten. It's like Paul said of sheep, "They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one" (Psalm 14:3, Romans 3:12).

          What can be done? What we can do is to turn from our past actions, realizing the harm we do to ourselves, to God, and to others (not necessarily in that order; more like God, ourselves and others). We acknowledge themn to Him who is abounding in love, not desiring any to perish, patient in His mercy to us. We also need to realize there is a point coming where He won't remain merciful for much longer. We need a wake up call. That's why God judged the nations in the Old Testament. It was to get them to "Wake Up! Turn around, settle down, and turn this world upside down."

          It comes down to realizing we are fallen sinful beings. That's the biggest part. The other parts are that we do away with them. We put God first, loving Him and only Him. Then we turn to loving our neighbors, restoring what's theirs rightfully. We remind each and one another of how great and merciful God is, especially in the person of Jesus Christ. He's the one who condemned sin and death with His life at the cross of Calvary. Finally, we live our lives by the grace of God, in His power, which He gives to us when we become part of His family. Now, don't you want your strength restored? God wants you to have Him in your life.