Today, I am writing as much for myself as I am for you. Our nation is experiencing and living in unprecedented times. We are all struggling to understand what is happening. And I will tell you that I know what it feels like to have the spirit of fear come calling in the early morning hours. I know how difficult it can be to not become distracted by the voice of the Enemy as we watch our country disintegrate before our eyes. And I know that everything in this world is telling us our futures are in jeopardy. But if I could offer you one piece of advice today, it is this: Stop and focus on the One who is our Deliverer, our Shield, and our Stronghold. And this isn't just a nonchalant piece of advice. I'm going to tell you exactly why this should be our course of action.
Twelve years ago, when God sent someone to prophesy to me that I was to write for Him, this same emissary from Heaven gave me a Scripture that I was told was to be my guiding principle in life. The verse was a familiar one, it was Isaiah 40:31, but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not grow faint.
This verse has been a Godsend for me whenever I have felt weary and my faith was weak. I have relied upon it in times of lack and in times of plenty; in times of fear and in times of trust; in times of doubt and in times of certainty. I haven't weathered the unpredictability of the ups and downs of the economy during the last 25 years, or the riskiness of being married to a self-employed professional artist, without relying on the Word as my underpinning. Mark and I have been in a covenant with the Lord throughout our marriage. The Lord clearly promised me, "I will remain faithful to You; be faithful to Me". So, I have leaned on Isaiah 40:31 many times during my adult life -- even before I became a Christian and didn't even know this Scripture existed, I lived it. He has renewed my strength more times than I can count. And I am relying on Him to continue to fortify me in the days to come.
But I want to share with you something else about this chapter in Isaiah. I want you to read the entirety of Chapter 40 and I think you will discover that it magnifies your faith and establishes why we need to commit to "wait" for the Lord. The historical context of Isaiah Chapter 40 is that it is written to the Jews who have reached the end of their captivity in Babylon and are facing their return to Jerusalem. The prophet offers comfort for God's chosen people, telling them that their debt of sin is paid for, and they will receive a double portion of God's blessings -- twice as much as the number of their sins. He prophecies that one (John the Baptist) will be coming, crying out in the wilderness, making way for the Lord, whose glory and majesty and splendor will be revealed for all of humanity to see.
We are told that the Word of God stands strong forever, even though we as people, who are as frail as grass and lovely as flowers, will wither and fade away. But God's Word endures. Then comes the strongest portion of the Chapter which reminds us of God's greatness. Isaiah reminds us that God is a victorious warrior and He triumphs with His awesome power. We must not lose sight of the truth that He is bringing His reward and the spoils of victory to those He calls His people. And in the midst of His Might, we are reminded of His gentle care of the weak and the young.
But there is a section of this chapter that especially speaks to my spirit and I think we all need to commit to heart ... Isaiah speaks of God's Superiority. After all, who measured the waters of the sea in the hollow of His hand? Who used the width of His hand to mark off the heavens? Who knows the exact weight of all the dust of the earth? Who fully understands the Holy Spirit, or who could even think about counseling Him? Who is there who thinks they are wise enough to impart knowledge to Him, or teach Him the ways of Justice? He IS all knowledge and justice!
And here is the sobering fact that Isaiah is speaking across the centuries directly to us -- The Lord regards the nations as nothing more than a drop in the bucket or dust on a scale. "The nations are nothing in His eyes; He regards them as absolutely nothing". That statement by the prophet is followed by a warning that the idols we have made are also nothing in comparison to God. Our 21st Century idols of national prosperity, power, personal wealth, property, and influence are just as damning as the idols of gold, silver, and wood that were crafted in the 4th Century B.C.
The prophet then reminds the haughty that God is the Creator of everything! He sits higher than the rulers of the earth, and he will reduce the rulers and the elite to nothing when He blows on them and they wither away, carried off like straw in the stormy wind. Then the Holy One challenges us to find anything or anyone who is His equal. No one can be compared to the One who created every shining star and formed every glowing galaxy -- and placed them in their exact positions; counted them and numbered them, giving them all names!
God then He summons those who belong to Him -- from Judah and Israel to all who are called by His Name -- and I want you to hear what He is saying to us: "Why would you ever complain about Me? Why would you say that I am not paying attention to your situation, or that I have lost all interest in what happens to you? Don't you know who I am? Have you not been listening to Me? I am the one and only everlasting God! I am the Creator of all you can see or imagine! I never get weary or tired; My knowledge is unlimited; and there is nothing that I can't figure out. I strengthen those who are weary and give power to the powerless. I know you're tired and exhausted from all that you're facing. But even the youth get tired and grow faint; and those in the prime of their life will stumble and fall."
And then comes the verse that has given me my spiritual bearings, verse 31: those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Let me present this in another interpretation: "Those who wait for My grace (My power within you to do what you cannot do on your own) will experience My divine strength. You will rise up on soaring wings and fly like eagles. You will run your race without growing weary, and walk through life without giving up".
I know [in my spirit] that I am going to need that grace and divine strength like I've never needed it before. The worries and concerns I've had in my past will pale compared to what the Enemy and his Anti-Christ spirit want to bring to this nation and the world. But none of those things will matter as He restores and renews and strengthens us. And I want the devil and his hordes to know that I am not done running my race! And I am not giving up on this life! I have much more written on my scroll in Heaven that I am to do for the Lord. I am declaring that I will be faithful to my Lord, and He will be faithful to me, just as He has promised. Furthermore, I am in Him, and He is in me. My body is my Lord's Temple. Nothing in the outside world has any worth to me. So if the world as I know it fades away, I will still find refuge within the sanctuary that is Him.
So, I want to encourage you. I want you to know that I am no different than any of you. We will all have our moments of weakness. I think we are all aware that our lives and our nation will be facing some difficult times. But never doubt who the Lord is, or that He is not aware of what you're experiencing. Remind yourself of all that He has done for you in the past, and that He is the same God today. And when our Enemy sends those spirits of doubt or fear, recite Isaiah 40 out loud and remind them of who you belong to! Remind them that you've still got a race to run and win! And remind them that God's glory and power will be evident in your life as you never give up!
2 Corinthians 4:8-10 Though we experience every kind of pressure, we’re not crushed. At times we don’t know what to do, but quitting is not an option. We are persecuted by others, but God has not forsaken us. We may be knocked down, but not out. We continually share in the death of Jesus in our own bodies so that the resurrection life of Jesus will be revealed through our humanity.