Friday, September 22, 2006

Strength for the present, hope for the future

Today's Old Testament reading includes Isaiah chapter 40. The end of that chapter is famous from the song: Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength... they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40.30-31). This puts me in mind of yesterday's New Testament reading from Galatians 6, which urged us not to lose heart or grow weary. So I guess that's a hint - by waiting on the Lord, depending on him, that might help us to keep on doing what pleases him.

I've often found comfort from this part, earlier in the chapter:
"To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One. Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
Isaiah 40.25-26
I've recalled this passage in time of trouble, and prayed something like, "Lord, these troubles are not bigger than you are." Then I think about how he has helped me in the past, like the author of Psalm 77.10-12 did.

The New Testament reading today is Ephesians chapter 1, which has to have the highest "in Christ" density of any chapter in the Bible. Paul talks about the hope for the future that we have as Christians, The part I want to focus on is in verses 19-20, where Paul says he wants us to know God's incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead.

Which means that for all the transformations still needed in my life... God has enough power to pull those off. (He had enough power to raise Jesus from the dead, didn't he?) And that's good news, too. Not just for me, but for everybody that has to put up with me!

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