One of the most fascinating sporting events is a sprint. Seeing the speedy and purposeful strides of the competitors just keep our eyes glued to them till the race is done. A marathon, though uniquely interesting, leaves us less spellbound, except of course, towards the end. A marathon, however, requires more stamina and tenacity than a sprint.
Our walk with Jesus is more of a marathon than a sprint. It’s a long journey with all kinds of experiences; sweet and sour, mountain tops and valleys. The Lord hasn’t promised a merry lifelong party but He does promise to be with us through thick and thin. Sometimes, we run well and fast and sometimes we crawl along or even grow weary. What should we do when our limbs are fatigued?
We must wait on the Lord
Again and again, the Lord instructs us to wait. We don’t have to rush on all the time. There are seasons for resting, refreshment and renewal which are essential for a successful walk with our loving Lord.
Jesus spent times to rest away from the crowds. He also called His disciples aside to rest. A life without rest is simply restless. There’s nothing as harmful as running up and down all of the time. Yes, there are deadlines to meet but if we always get to that line, we’ll soon be dead.
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31
Jesus isn’t a slave driver or taskmaster. He promises rest to all who come to Him. In fact, he invites us to come and rest. He says in Matthew 11:28-30:
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
As we rest, the Lord heals our minds, binds up all bruises and refreshes us with the oil of gladness. We face challenges in the world, our homes and even in ministry. Our sympathizing Jesus, the Great Physician, is always at hand to heal our wounded, broken spirit and restore us to spiritual health. Sometimes, the journey is too long for us without times of refreshment in the spirit, soul and body. Elijah needed a retreat. So do we.
4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” 5 And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 6 And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. 7 And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” 8 And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God. – 1 Kings 19:4-8
We mount up with wings like eagles after resting. We receive new strength, fresh insight, and renewed zeal.
Isaiah 40:28-31 encourage us to get renewed as we wait on the Lord:
28 Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
29 He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
30 Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.
May the Lord hold our hands in His as we wait on Him to renew us time and time again.
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