Strength for the Weary
But 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. (Isaiah 40:31)
I know how it feels to run and be weary. For the first few miles of a long run my body feels fresh and light. My feet are almost gliding across the ground. My arms are pumping strong, and my head is held high. But after a while, the body starts to feel heavy, the legs grow weary, and the head begins to droop. Come those last few miles, the lungs are gasping for air and I’m counting down the minutes until the finish.
I know what you’re thinking. Why do it? To a non-runner, what I just described probably sounds awful. It’s hard to explain, but as a runner that utter weariness along with a sense of accomplishment is part of why we run.
That and every once in a while, somewhere mid- to late- run, that weariness goes away. Every once in a while, you experience what they call, “runner’s high.” The body feels lighter, the legs stronger, the spirit higher. Again, it’s hard to describe, but it feels like you suddenly have “wings like eagles.”
Everyone knows weariness in some form or another, runner or not. It could be the weariness of new parents, trying to get a newborn to sleep more than just a few hours. Or the weariness of long, hard days at work. Or the weariness of caring for aging loved ones. Or the weariness of a world that seems so crazy.
The feeling is similar to a long run. The body feels heavy. It can be hard to even breathe. You are wondering how much longer you can last.
Then you do it again. You get up for a middle-of-the-night feeding. You go to work another day. You care for your loved one. You absorb everything the world has to throw at you. Where? Where does the strength come from to keep on keeping on?
The prophet Isaiah says the source of that strength, that stamina, that ability to press forward no matter how weary we may be is none other than the LORD, our God. As I like to say, it isn’t that God won’t give us more than we can handle but rather God will give us the strength to handle whatever comes our way.
Perhaps you’ve felt that moment, too, when in spite of the weariness and strain, you feel light again. You see the little baby in your arms. You see a job well done. You see the smile from a parent or a random act of kindness out in the world.
And then, yes, you can go on. Suddenly, it is as if you have been raised up on eagle’s wings and that weariness fades away, if just for a little while.
Whatever you may be facing this day, or each day, may God strengthen you and ease your weary soul.