I’ve been weary lately. And in my weariness, I’ve been crying out to the Lord for strength. One morning this week, a those passed through my mind before I was even fully awake.
The Lord will renew your strength.
As I awakened fully, I realized that the thought was just a inaccurate version of Isaiah 40:31. I’ve transitioned most of my Scripture memory to NASB, but even if I memorize this particular verse in other translations, I believe my mind will always go first to the beautiful KJV:
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…
Do you see the difference between my early morning thought and the actually verse? “They that wait…shall renew” versus “The Lord will renew…”
Because of the differences, I was driven back to Isaiah for context. I knew the idea of the context, but what were the exact words? Why would I think, even in my dreaming state, the words “The Lord will renew your strength” instead of just drawing comfort from a familiar and well-loved memory verse?
As I read backwards a bit, I saw this:
Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and the justice due me escapes the notice of my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Isaiah 40:27-29
Oh, how much I could say about the whole process that took me from full-fledged weariness through an early morning sub-conscious thought to renewal. But, the truth is that such a process is intimate and personal. It comes from relationship, and there is nothing I can share that will draw you into that renewal. That’s between you and the Lord.
But, two other powerful realities struck me through all of this.
First, God takes what we have and builds on it.
I cannot remember when I memorized Isaiah 40:30-31. But I know that I’ve returned to it so many times that it is an ingrained part of me. This week, God took it, His Word, the seedling of His very Spirit within me, and used it to renew my strength.
Oh, my dear friend, if you are not hiding God’s Word in your heart, making it a part of you, then you are missing the most powerful avenue by which our Father connects with us. I’m not talking memorization, although that is the most direct avenue by which God’s Word is hidden in our hearts. I’m talking immersion. Digging deep. Not just reading to read, but learning, growing, and interacting with the Word of God, making it an integral part of your being.
Secondly, always go back to the Word.
The thought that came to my mind was not just intended to help me remember a beloved verse. It was intended to drive me back to the Bible. To study. To evaluate context. To explore more deeply. Not to simply rely on what I remembered, but to discover more.
We have the amazing privilege of having Scripture readily available to us. Not only do we have it in print, but most of us can pull up our phones and computers and snag any translation at the press of a button. There are hundreds of thousands of people lacking that privilege. But, we have it.
And our heavenly Father wants us to use it.
No matter how many great snippets of Scripture you’ve memorized, how many wonderful sermons or devotionals you’ve heard, how many solid interpretations you’ve heeded, always go back to the Word itself. It is alive. It is breathing. It is active. It is fresh. And when we return to it with open hearts and minds, the Holy Spirit will reveal living truths that speak to our immediate standing with Christ, even from the most familiar of passages.
Perhaps today your struggle is not weariness. Perhaps it’s something else entirely. Whatever it is, I guarantee your heavenly Father is ready to speak life and strength and power and truth into your need. Will you immerse yourself in His Word and allow His Spirit to bring renewal to your heart?