“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.
“Trust ye in the LORD forever; for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:” Isaiah 26:3-4
As you can see, the need for strength is a common theme for me. I often feel utterly overwhelmed with a multitude of responsibilities. At one point, I was working five jobs and taking graduate classes. This school year, I am working as a per diem substitute for four school districts and rarely work in the same building more than twice a week.
Feeling weighed down and discouraged is my fault. Not God’s. He has never left me, but I have often rushed headlong into my busy day without taking time to read the Bible and pray. I have not listened for His still small voice whispering words of love and direction. He longs to infuse me daily with His strength, but I must do my part. Lord, may I grow to be a better listener in the coming year. Amen.
“…In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength….” Isaiah 30:15b
This verse first spoke to me when I was organizing the memorial service for my dad. After six weeks in the hospital in a coma, he went home to be with Jesus. Even so, I wasn’t ready to lose my dad. He had gone into the hospital for surgery on an abdominal aneurysm. The surgery went well, but the next night he went into respiratory failure. The doctor put him on a respirator and a rocking bed. Apparently, patients can’t handle the continual rocking motion, so the management plan includes administering a drug that induces paralysis. Patients can’t handle the paralysis either, so the plan also includes administering a drug that induces a coma. For six weeks, I and my then teen children visited my dad daily.
About a week before Dad passed, my sister, my pastor, and I were able to pray with Dad to ensure he was ready to meet God. Tears spilled from Dad’s eyes as my pastor prayed the salvation prayer. Dad may not have been able to move or talk to us, but I am absolutely certain he heard every word and was praying silently, committing himself to God’s perfect care.
Preparing for and participating in my dad’s memorial service was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. If God had not made this verse come alive to me, if I had not rested quietly and confidently in His strength, my own strength would have failed me, and I would not have been able to honor my dad with a service that was a tribute to his love for us and our love for him.
“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
“For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
The message in these verses has brought me comfort during difficult times, of which there have been many as a single parent. When I’ve felt exhausted beyond my own strength, the gentle reminder that I am not alone has lifted my weary spirit. I believe Matthew uses this metaphor to remind us that God has never intended for us to carry our burdens alone. Jesus is with us to help and guide us in every situation. Remember, nothing is too hard for God. He loves us.