“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope 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 be faint.”
Isaiah 40:29-31 (The Message)
“He gives proud skeptics a cold shoulder, but if you’re down on your luck, he’s right there to help.”
Proverbs 3:34 (The Message)
Be weak! It’s okay to be weary! Be dependent!
The Standard of Society
That is not advice society offers; it’s usually quite the opposite. The speeches given at graduation commencement typically revolve around working hard, being tough, accomplishing goals, “making something” of yourself using your skills and talents.
To aide in the accomplishment of those goals all sorts of measures come into play. Where I work, I fill out an annual self-assessment of my goals from the previous year. Tax forms at the end of the year detail an individual’s worth in dollars and cents. Awards are won, incentives are given and grades are tabulated by instructors; in an effort to quantify one’s accomplishments.
If you are like me, you feel a bit creepy right now. Certainly, people are more than they earn, what they do and what they achieve. Let me ask, how many of you have worked long, hard hours to get a promotion? Have you performed those extra tasks to get a raise? Have you sacrificed yourself to get ahead?
You didn’t go the extra mile to be weak. You didn’t work hard to be dependent.
Being Dependent is a Requirement
Chances are good you are weak, tired and weary because of your efforts to avoid being weak, tired and weary. It’s God’s upside-down kingdom at work again. In this kingdom, being weak is not pathetic, being weary is not a shame and being dependent is a requirement.
The verse above, from Proverbs, maybe more familiar as James quoted it James 4:6:
“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
‘God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.'” (NIV)
Pride keeps many locked in a tail-chase, in a never-ending pursuit of perfection and independence. All the time God stands by waiting for the exhausted soul to give up and admit weakness and dependence. At that moment, at the moment when you resign your efforts and ask God to take over, that hope and trust begins to renew the believer. The upsurge of God’s power makes soaring possible. The wobbly legs, tired from the race, become strong. The daily walk of life is pleasant.
Use your gifts and talents to serve the heavenly Father who gave them to you. At the same time, be weak. The weak are renewed. Those dependent on the wind, soar. Those who find their hope in the Lord, also find strength.
Father, calm my driven spirit. Help me to not get caught up in the world’s description of success. Teach me to be dependent on You and Your strength. Keep my heart weak before You.