My thoughts (Derin Kyle):
Last year seemed to be a year of numerous trials for many of us in the United States as well as across the globe. Natural disasters, political corruption, and sheer hate seemed to have run rampant without any signs of relenting. Week after week, we were bombarded with news of American citizens’ rights being challenged and of horrific destruction caused by the heavy winds of hurricanes, it seemed as though we could not catch a breath, it seemed as though hell had finally broken loose.
What does this mean to us as people of faith who trust in God to restore goodness in the world? What does this mean to us, as followers of Jesus, when it appears as though we have no more strength to keep up our good attitudes and as though all hope for bringing light into the world seems lost? What do we do when we seem to have run out of strength and “grow faint”?
At the start of each year, many resolutions are made in an attempt to better one’s life. For example, this past year, I made commitments to drink healthy amounts of water every single day (failed), to commit more time to my spiritual practices on a daily basis (failed), and to have a “summer body” before summer (triple-failed). You see, I failed to keep these commitments to myself because I felt as though I did not have the strength to accomplish these things alone. Yes, individually each goal seems to be rather obtainable, however, we all know how difficult it can be to start good habits or to end bad ones. So, as a person of faith, what should I do about making new commitments to myself if I already know that I “stumble and fall”?
Today’s passage is a reminder that we are never alone in our endeavors (no matter how distant God may seem at the moment). It is a reminder that “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength”. So, even though I feel weary already about keeping new commitments, although I feel drained from the constant bombardment of bad news coming out of the world, even when it seems as though I can no longer hold onto my “good attitude”, I must remember my strength will be renewed. I am reminded of Philippians 4:13 which reads “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and the promise that provides. Even though I feel weak, even though I feel inadequate, even though I feel like I can’t make a positive change in the world, I know that I can because God says so.
So my commitment to myself is this: Trust in God. I know that the news won’t start changing over night, I know that new habits will not be established in a day, but I also know that with enough commitment and communion with God that I will have the strength to get through whatever the world throws my way this year.
Prayer for the day: God, help me to remember that You are the source of my strength. On days when all hope seems at a complete loss, I pray that You whisper in Your still small voice to my heart a reminder that with You I will soar on wings like eagles and that I will run and not grow weary.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.