Morning Manna


Strength for the Weary

Hannele Ottschofski

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 NIV

Sometimes I am so tired and simply long for new strength and energy. The Bible text in Isaiah sounds so good: “The Lord will renew their strength. They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint”. What a great promise! But what if we deliberately take on too much work? We also read: “Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted” (ESV). Men might get tired, but not we women! Often we women act as if our strength were unlimited.
Once one of my daughters was with us for 10 days with her two small children. She needed a little "vacation" and we were glad to help. I realized again how much strength young parents need to cope with everything. No matter how little sleep they get, in the morning they have to be fit again and function as usual. How good it is that people have children while they are still young and energetic.
Little children instinctively know that they sometimes need help and know who to turn to when they realize that their strength is not enough. We also have a Father who has strength. He can help us. We do not have to rely on our own strength in this world. Our Heavenly Father waits for us to ask Him for help. He sees how we struggle and but He will not interfere unless we ask Him. So don’t forget to tell Him your needs and ask for His help.
In the book of Acts, we read about a woman called Dorcas or Tabitha. The Bible says she was always doing good and helping the poor. Many women fit into this picture. They feel they have to do good all the time - cooking, cleaning, helping here and there, listening to a friend, washing, organizing, scrubbing. They feel obligated to live up to all expectations. They are the superwomen.
Dorcas was best known as the woman who sewed clothes for the poor, but she probably helped people in many other areas as well. And what's wrong with that? Isn't that exactly what we should be doing? But Dorcas had a problem. She was only human - just like us. Her strength was limited. All too often when we want to do good, we hit a wall that forces us to acknowledge our limitations. Whether we experience illness, injury, exhaustion or burnout, we realize that we can't go on indefinitely. Dorcas was at the end of her tether, and she died. We don't know how she died or for what reason. But the Bible says, "she became sick and died." Dorcas worked herself to death.
The Christians in Joppa sent a messenger to Peter. Jesus had raised the dead to life, and so they thought, maybe Peter do that too. Peter was ready to be used by God. He immediately went to Dorcas's house, where he was greeted by widows who showed him garments, all made by Dorcas. It was as if they wanted to say, "Dorcas was such a good woman. She deserves to live! We need her."
Peter sent everyone out, fell on his knees and prayed. Then, confident that God would answer his prayer, he turned toward the dead woman and said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up (Acts 9:40+41). He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive. This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. What a testimony to the power of God!
Well, that was a long time ago, and today we rarely see a dead person raised to life again. But we can see people spiritually awakened to new life. This happens when a sinner gives his life to God and experiences forgiveness and starts all over again. But God can also give new life in other ways. He can give new life to dead relationships, trampled hopes and dreams. And certainly to burned-out women who have done too much good. When Dorcas lay down on her bed and took her last breath she was no longer the strong, capable woman who could solve all problems and take up any challenge. She was weak. She had no strength left - neither to help others nor herself. Only the power of God could save her.
When we strive to do good, to serve and help, to love, and that burden becomes too great, we must stop. We must lie down and rest in the knowledge that God is in charge. We must allow Him to heal us and revive us with His power. The Bible tells us (Ephesians 3:20), "(God) is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us."
It is as if we all had a bank account with God. We can withdraw strength and help there as often as we want. We have an inexhaustible credit balance. One day we will be amazed when we realize how much strength was left unused in our Heavenly account and how we struggled here on earth. We should not work until we drop dead, as Dorcas did. Let us rather fall on our knees and ask God to fill us with His strength and heal us.

Lord, thank you for giving us strength. Help us to come to you daily to get help so that we can face each new day with renewed strength. Amen.