By Glenn Metts
Pastor, Shiloh Baptist Church, Seymour
Focal Passage: Isaiah 40:18-31
One of the most encouraging and beloved Scriptures in God’s Word is Psalm 46:1: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” That is a truth that we can cling to in troublesome times. When we look to the future, our minds are filled with questions about what is to come. Sometimes, our minds can also be filled with fear of what the future holds.
As we come to chapter 40 of Isaiah, Judah still had 100 years of trouble before Jerusalem would fall, then 70 years of exile. So God tells Isaiah to speak tenderly and to comfort Jerusalem. God promises His presence and His faithfulness to His people as they walk through difficult years ahead. As our lesson points out, God provides strength for those who trust in Him.
One of my favorite people to read about is Corrie Ten Boom. When I think of someone who walked through unbelievable hardship, Corrie and her family did. This precious family hid Jews in their home during the time of the Holocaust. They were caught and treated just as the Jews were. Corrie was sent to Ravensbruck, a women’s work camp in Germany, along with her sister Betsy. She tells of the horrors of what they went through in her book, The Hiding Place.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association also produced a movie by that title of Corrie’s experiences. I never will forget, at the end of the movie the real Corrie Ten Boom came on the screen. She summed up her experience this way. She said, “There is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still.”
Those words have encouraged me ever since. One other powerful thought that Corrie would often share with her audiences was this. “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.” Corrie lived through those dark days and went on to tell of God’s goodness and faithfulness. Isaiah’s words to God’s people were words to comfort them and give them hope that He was with them and He would restore them. They would find strength as they trusted Him.
God cannot be compared to anyone or anything else. He is the Holy One. If He created all the starry host one by one as the Scripture says, and calls them each by name, certainly He cares and will watch over His people that look to Him. As we apply these truths to our own lives, we are reminded that the Lord is the everlasting God. He never grows tired or weary. His wisdom is not limited. As verses 28-31 teach us, those who hope in Him will renew their strength.
The year 2020 will certainly go down as a year to remember. Many have faced difficulty and hardship this year that has been unprecedented in our lifetime. It is easy to become fearful, weary, tired and feel as if the future is bleak. But remember God’s words to us through the prophet Isaiah, “Lift your eyes…” (v. 26), and be reminded of God’s power, His faithfulness, His love and watch care, and His plan for the future. God will provide the strength we need as we trust in Him. His strength never runs out and His plans for us are good. Jesus invites us to “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). B&R