By Vance Drum
Our revival preachers — Tommy Sprinkle, Ottis Byers and Winston Spencer — were great last week. The worship was heaven-sent, and the fellowship of our area churches was blessed.
The Sunset pastor continued our series on Sunday, “Running the Race: Facing Life’s Challenges with Confidence and Hope,” with a message, “When the Race becomes a Walk.” The text was from Isaiah 40 31: “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 be faint.”
Can you think of the last time you got really, really tired, and thought you could not take one more step? You had to lay down and either get some rest, or die.
Sometimes, spiritually, we may despair even of God’s presence and help because our minds are clouded by difficult circumstances and desperate conditions.
The pastor made three points: (1) The Complaint; (2) The Creator; (3) The Help.
(1) The Complaint. Israel was going through hard times, probably brought on by their own rebellion against God and God’s will, as v2 refers to Israel’s “hard service” and “her sin.”
So, in v27, Isaiah records: “Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God?’” Israel’s complaint was that God no longer cared about his people Israel, that God had abandoned his heritage.
Did you ever feel that way? That God has abandoned you, that God is busy with something or somebody else, and doesn’t know your name? David sometimes felt that way when King Saul was trying to kill him (Psalm 64:1): “Hear me, O God, as I voice my complaint; protect my life from the threat of the enemy.”
I believe God can handle our human complaints, but let’s see how He might answer.
(2) The Creator. Isaiah answers for God (v28): “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.”
Isaiah’s answer to Israel’s complaint is to point the nation to God their Creator. He says, Remember what you’ve heard from your fathers. The Lord is everlasting. He is always present.
He created the heavens and the earth and preserves our lives by the sustaining power of his rich grace.
He was present at the Red Sea when he delivered Israel from Pharaoh’s army, after Moses had told Pharaoh, “Let my people go.”
He will also be with you. We sometimes have been faithless, but He remains faithful. God is always with us, and, in 54 years of walking with Him, His Son Jesus has never let me down. Remember who God is, and what he has done for you.
(3) The Help. Then (vss29-31] Isaiah tells what God does to help us: “He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak.” Whatever your need is today, God is strong and loving, and He can help you.
Who is it, though, that God helps? V30: “Even youths grow 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.”
God blesses everybody with sunshine and rain, but he has extra blessings for those who hope in Him. To hope in God means to wait on, trust, and put our confidence in Him. It means to honor God and his ways, to love and serve Him.
Ask for his help. He will hear your prayer — for help with school, work, family and self.
In the race running with Jesus, sometimes we walk. He will give you strength for the journey.
“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” [Psalm 103:13-14]
We thank God for his compassion toward you — our prayer for you from your friends at Sunset Christian Church.