Monday, March 9, 2015

"Sharing in God's Resources" (Isaiah 40:25-31)


Is our Christianity working for us?
Do we sense that we are really following Jesus?
Are we growing … growing into the likeness of Christ Jesus?
Is this “new life” we are living, or just a bit of a reordered “old life”?
Are we just doing appearance management?

Are there relationship tensions in your life?
Do feelings of spirituality come and go?
Does your strength waver?

If these questions resonate at all with us, then we should come to this scripture in Isaiah and really meditate upon it.
Doubts had been expressed about God’s capacity to help us, and such doubts were addressed in very elaborate language.

Sometimes life is harder than at other times. Also, some people do have a harder journey than others.
However, having Jesus in our lives, should be making a tangible difference.
This should be our witness today to all those we encounter!
The faith that we profess should be working in reality?

The ancient people of Israel often found themselves pressured, threatened, or separated from their land … forced to live in exile in a foreign country.
Often before and during their times of trial they doubted God … doubting God’s capacities to help them and liberate them.
[On another tangent, after deliverance from trials the people of Israel often then took God for granted! Also these people sometimes confused what they wanted with what they needed according to God’s purposes for them.]
It’s okay, quite human, to doubt God – but what do we do with our doubts?
Dwell on them? Let them persist and grow? Or take them to God (and to God’s Word) … take them into prayer?
When so-called doubting Thomas resolved his doubts, how did he respond to Jesus???
“My Lord and my God” (John 20:28)!

The prophet Isaiah related God’s Word on this:

God is incomparable – no one or thing can do anything for us like God can.
Have a look around you! “Lift up your eyes on high and see” (v.26a). Lift your vision. God is mighty.
God doesn’t miss anything … from the biggest elements of the universe, to a bird fluttering in a tree – to the deepest needs of a human soul.

We might at times feel disregarded, or removed from God’s gaze.
Is it possible that my complicated situation has escaped God?
Has God not seen my need? Could God have possibly forgotten me?
What can we say about that? What does God say?
We are reminded about what we have experienced in the past.
We are reminded about those good things we have been taught (v.28).
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

The “everlasting God”! There is no time when God is not aware of us … seeing us … caring for us.
The “Creator of the ends of the earth”!! There is no place hidden from God’s view.
God is there, God is here; wanting to show us something, wanting to teach us something.
“God does not faint nor grow weary”!
God has a high level of investment in how our lives turn out.
So, God never loses sight of us; God never tires from his interest in us.
God knows our frailty, and loves us intensely. God holds his arms out to us.
“God’s understanding is unsearchable [or, immeasurable, unlimited, outstanding, perfect, awesome]”!
We can’t quite fathom it all – but we can say that God’s understanding is awesome!!
So … there is certainly no deficiency in God’s resources, availability or knowledge.

What does this mean for us?

God can lift us up when we fall down.
When we feel weak, God is still strong. God can bring us through the most challenging trial.
This means the way we look at things can be completely changed from the negative towards the positive.
This can lift our heads. This can un-hunch our shoulders (because our burdens become lighter).
This can bring smiles to our faces. This can mean that we can glide slightly above the ground.

Jesus, our Saviour, took our most pressing burden … the burden of sin, guilt and shame … upon himself on the cross.
Jesus continues to help carry our earthly burdens (as our greatest friend).
What was it that Jesus said (totally consistent with the God Isaiah teaches us about)?
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
It’s like when we go hiking and our pack just weighs that little bit too much. A bigger stronger friend might take over our pack for a bit, while we recover our equilibrium.
Again and again in the Gospels, Jesus came alongside people and caringly addressed their needs and burdens – physical sight through to spiritual sight; debilitating illnesses and destructive demons; addictions to certain behavioural patterns or simply to money. Jesus helped people with every known problem.

Even the most youthful of us, even the most mature of us, even the most confident of us, even the most faith-filled of us, will grow weary in our human capacities, and will find a challenge or two to be very testing; but what can we do?? What does verse 31 say???

“Wait for the Lord”, or, “wait on the Lord”!!??!!

With what result???
Renewed strength, the capacity to fly, the ability to persevere and keep going forward (and run the race with joy).

“If you want to fly like an eagle, don’t hang around with turkeys”!?!
Well we shouldn’t take this too far, but accept the main point.
We should not live according to a very low common denominator – just what everybody else is doing or taking to be normal.
God is seeking to take us to new places – the ways of “heaven” we might say.
We are not to be defined by negative judgements {ours or others}, rather we are to be defined by what God is doing in our lives (or, who we are becoming = ‘the reward’).

When do you feel you are flying? Not as often as you want to!?!

What does it mean to “wait for the Lord”, or wait on God?

·        Often translated in terms of “hope” and “trust”; so,
·        It is to acknowledge that God is the centre of our best future
·        It is to accept that God has our best interests at heart
·        It is (absolutely) to have trust in God on a constant basis – it takes focus and faith for trust to become our default position
·        It is to put all our hope in God for the present and the future
·        It is to see trials and difficulties, no matter how regrettable, as opportunities to learn and grow (and deepen your relationship with God)
·        It is to know that, even if we can’t see it (clearly) now, we will surely see it in due course
·        It means that we faithfully continue the journey while God answers our prayers
·        It means to have a patient expectation that God will be present.

NB. This is all the very opposite of worry and frantic activity!!

What does it mean to have our strength renewed?

·        New coping mechanisms
·        New energy, enthusiasm, motivation
·        New effectiveness, influence
·        New faith

My moment of understanding!!

Verse 31c relating back to verse 28c “He does not faint or grow weary”.
·        Receiving the capacities of God
·        Sharing in God’s resources
·        Replacing or exchanging our old worn out strength with God’s ever-resilient effectiveness
·        This is a giving God … engaging with our frailty and weakness to provide fresh strength

What do I need to do?

1.     Wait upon God i.e. trust God completely, (patiently) knowing that He is present with me
2.     Focus on God, and not so much on my problem areas; and seek wise counsel when I run into blockages
3.     Share life with good friends – tell my stories, hear their stories, and find out more about this giving God who wants us to fly like eagles
4.     Don’t allow myself to stall, constantly hesitating for everything to fall into place (or to be resolved) – embrace the journey, live in the present, without retreating

5.     Worship God with all I have … in the company of other believers.

No comments:

Post a Comment