I take another sip of coffee and try to focus on the highway stretched out in front of me as I battle the physical weariness that threatens to overwhelm me. It is Saturday morning and like many Saturday mornings I am headed to work in a small town 40 miles away. I am thankful for the work, but I hate fighting the weariness that results from staying up late for school events several nights a week and rising at 4:30 am every morning – seven days a week – to tend to dairy goats and bottle feed new calves before starting my day.
For several weeks I have faced my Saturday morning drive armed with coffee and a snack to help me battle against sleep while I drive. I am often reminded of Isaiah 40:30 as I whisper a prayer for the strength I need to get through the day and do a good job for those who are relying on me.
He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even youths grow tired and weary and young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.
Although I desperately need the physical strength at the moment, this scripture has also become my prayer for renewing grace. Weeks pass and I don’t even visit my own blog site to read or respond to comments – much less actually post something. My Facebook page goes unattended and my next book remains unwritten and all the while I struggle just to keep up with the daily tasks of my household. Giving grace to my weary and discouraged self is often just as hard as offering it to others. I know Isaiah says nothing about grace in this passage but it reminds me of God’s grace so abundantly bestowed on us nonetheless. Several years ago I read Matthew Henry’s Commentary on this passage of scripture and his reference to God’s grace made such a powerful impression I think of his comments when I remember this passage and often return to reread them.
“Many a time he gives power to the faint, to those that are ready to faint away; and to those that have no might he not only gives but increases strength….Many out of bodily weakness are wonderfully recovered and made strong by the providence of God: and many that are feeble in spirit, timorous and fainthearted, unfit for services and sufferings, are yet strengthened by the GRACE of God with all might in the inward man. …for, when we are weak in ourselves, then are we strong in the Lord. (Matthew Henry’s Commentary Isaiah 40: 27-31) (My emphasis on grace.)
I had not envisioned this as a season of ‘services and sufferings ‘ but this task of raising teens that I did not birth or raise has been far more difficult and taxing than I anticipated as the transition from guests to functioning members of our household continues to be a long, difficult process. Nor did I realize that when we stepped into the realm of public school we stepped into a lifestyle far different from the one in which I raised my own children. A lifestyle that revolves around farm work and family does not mesh well with one focused on sports and social entertainment and I find myself wondering how much I should serve and sacrifice for boys who will quickly be young men who must serve themselves. As the weeks roll into months I often find myself growing ‘weary in well-doing’ and as Matthew Henry’s says, ‘unfit for services and sufferings’ and in desperate need of God’s renewing grace. But as Matthew Henry continues:
But those that wait on the Lord, who make conscious of their duty to him and by faith rely upon him and commit themselves to his guidance, shall find that God will not fail them. They shall have GRACE sufficient for them: they shall renew their strength as their work is renewed….
I am struck by this passage – those who make conscious of their duty, who by faith rely and commit.
I find myself praying, “Lord, help me to be conscious of my duty and give me grace to offer when it is in their best interest to tirelessly serve. Strengthen my faith as I commit to your guidance and give me grace to be patiently persistent when it is best for them to learn to serve themselves.
Although I am tired, I do make it through another day and as I used to tell my children, “this too will pass.” But I want to do more than just survive this season – worn and spent but still standing – I want to thrive in this season. As my energy and time are spent, I want it to be well-spent, and so I pray I learn to lean hard on my source so that I am renewed day by day and my feeble spirit is strengthened for services and sufferings as I learn to both give and receive His glorious grace.