Isaiah 40: 29 – 31 (N.I.V.)
“He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of
the weak. Even youths
tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 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 faint.”
For a long time, I have been troubled by
the above verse; I looked around me and find so many people discouraged
while doing what is supposed to be God’s work and it is tempting to conclude
that that verse is false. The problem is even wider than this; the verse
should also extend towards all facets of life; at the work place, in
relationships, at school, at prayer, at the word, while fasting, e.t.c.
These are all areas that the promised renewal of strength should come. But
what I see is that in many of those areas, the only promise that seam to
come to pass is that we always will have motivational preachers who would
tell us to keep on struggling; that some people made it, why not we?
In any population, some people will always
make it. That is not the manifestation of the fulfilment of the promise;
that is chance or ability and has little to do with God’s power helping us.
It will be very wrong for us to misrepresent God’s power and reduce it to
chance and personal strength or endurance; it will give the undertone that
God has favourites, which is not true. Until we see a promise come to pass
and hold true in an entire group to the extent that all who join the group
would most likely experience the promise, we cannot confirm that it is the
promise at work; Jesus said,
“Let them be united that the world may know that you sent me”,
He also said,
“On the day the son of man comes, it shall be as the sun that
rises at the east and shines its light to the west”.
I do not think motivational teaching is
the answer; I think we should revisit the terms of the promise.
We all know that God’s promises are always
on a condition and that the promise will come if we satisfy our side of the
condition. What is the condition at question in this verse?
The verse says,
“They that hope in the lord….”
to wait in old English may mean to serve, it is in this context that we have
the word ‘waiter’; i.e. those who serve in restaurants. Thus ‘to wait’ may
mean to stand ready for God to tell you what to do; to listen for God’s
solution to your problem or listen for what God wants you to do.
The truth is that most of us decide what
we want to do for God; we decide we want to sing, we want to preach, we want
to act, we want to be this or that for God. Can we then be said to be
waiting on God? If a waiter offers me food that I did not order, should I
pay for the meal? This is an issue of questioning God’s authority.
Another context of the meaning to the word
‘wait’ is, well, to wait; wait for God.
Most of us are in a hurry, in a hurry to
do something about our situation; in a hurry to solve the problem, to get
what we want. As a result, we may rush ahead of God’s time and make
shipwreck of our testimony.
Is. 50: 10 & 11
lets us know that it is God’s policy; if you do not wait for His time and
His council, you will definitely make shipwreck of your testimony. This is
an issue of questioning God’s wisdom.
Finally, but not least of all, another
context of meaning to the word ‘wait’ is to hope in God. After we may have
waited to know what God’s time and method to come and be revealed, this is
about the time most of us begin to fear; fear what people will say, fear the
challenges we have to face, fear the opportunities we would have to forgo,
the sacrifices we would have to make, indignities we would have to endure,
the abilities we don’t have. We begin to rationalize that it is not possible
to do it God’s way and make the desired results. This is an issue of
doubting God’s power; the moment we turn to God for help, we make it God’s
business. The moment He answers and involves Himself in the affair, it
becomes His work. If it fails, He would be at fault because we trusted in
His wisdom and power. If for fear of anything we do not do His will, it is
because we do not trust is His ability to save us from failure or shame; we
do not trust in His salvation.
To illustrate the above point, let us take
prayer for example. Many of us still indulge in needlessly long prayers
thinking that it is by lengthiness that our prayers will be effective;
popular doctrines have even been instituted in the church that back this
stance even though Jesus specifically told us not to do this. Some of us
pray loud and repetitive prayers so that people may think we are men of
prayer, thus we impress men but do not impress God; Jesus specifically teach
against this. It is an issue of trying to get God’s results with our own
effort; not following His methods. It is also an issue of wanting more than
the salvation of God allows for our lives, i.e. pride.
All the points above sited can all be
“little foxes that spoil the vine”,
i.e. little reasons why our faith do not work. If we hope to experience the
promise of God, we must purge our hearts of these things as the bible says
“In a great house, there are many vessels… some are for noble
purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he
will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the master
and prepared to do any good work” (2 Tim. 2: 20 & 21).