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Renew Strength

God promises that we can renew our strength like eagles in Isaiah 40:29-31.

He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless. Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who trust 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. My life is testing this promise.

Balancing moving and downsizing, selling my home, preparing for a pilgrimage and holding down a full-time job, I have certainly been in need of strength. Anyone could recognize this fact as they listen to me vocalize my list of things to do. (The check-list for selling the home alone minus the move is enough to make my head spin.) Yet, here is where I find myself; it’s obvious that I am up against an impossible goal. I’m embarrassed to say that it took me way too long to remember the truths of Isaiah 40. It was in the midst of a conversation with a friend when she brought up this verse in response to the diatribe I offered after she asked me how I was. She said, You are really living out Isaiah 40!

In that moment, I awoke to the fact that what I had accomplished so far was because of God. Somehow I was missing that important aspect while I rambled on and on about what I had done and what I still had to accomplish. I hadn’t realized that I needed God already and that He had been keeping me from fainting, growing weary and falling flat on my face. The fact that I was standing was an act of God’s mercy in my life. I wasn’t asking Him to give me strength, keep me from falling or fainting, yet He just did it. He did it for an ungrateful, unaware but dearly beloved daughter. He did it because that is who He is. He did it because He has the strength I need, and He wants to give it even if I fail to ask for it.

Since then my list has grown more insurmountable. I do not have a reasonable explanation for how I can accomplish all the tasks that are set before me. Rather than waste my limited energy trying to figure it all out, I am learning to turn it over to God and walk with him through the tasks one by one. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time is the answer. When I take it a bite at a time, I realize that I do have strength. I am weary for sure but I’m not fainting. God has made room for my human side which needs a little debrief verbally from the craziness (usually with my husband, who lets me bubble over with the hope that it will come full circle to placing my hope in God again, or my friends and coworkers, who probably didn’t really need a full dissertation about how I am when they asked—yet they politely listen anyway).

Today is Monday and I feel a renewed strength. It was mandatory for me to take a day off from all the chores above on Sunday for my Sabbath rest. Strength comes from God. He knows we need help. He wants us to be aware of this interdependency. The problem is that I cling to my independent state too firmly. God asks a lot of me. I ask a lot of myself, and together is the way to see that it is accomplished. He is ever interdependent with me, even when I think I’m independent. I’m grateful for my powerlessness, lack of strength and weariness because they reveal the omnipotent power of God funneled into my weak and weary life. I am both in awe of Him and blessed by Him at the same time.

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About Dr. Deborah Newman-Riesling

Dr. Deborah Newman

Deborah Newman-Riesling is a licensed professional counselor, and licensed marriage and family therapist. Deborah serves as Minister of Congregational Care at Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas, TX.


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