Have you not
known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the
ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is
He gives power to
the faint, and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will
faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait
for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like
eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah
Molly has been to
church with me quite a bit recently. Her increasing lameness has been a topic of increasing worry in our family, and because it's so icy outside it's hard for her to get around. Going to the office or to worship gives her a diversion, a chance to see people, and an indoor surface on which to walk.
This is a picture of Molly attending my preacher group a couple of weeks ago. (Thanks to Country Parson for taking her picture.) She's not yet 7,
but her arthritis has progressed to a degree we knew it would reach someday. We just didn't
know what it would look like.
We're watching for
signs of further decline, but more than that we are looking for continuing signs
of eagerness to go places and see people and do things that are part of her
routine. She can still get up and down her ramp to the backyard, in and out of
"her" chair in our living room, and she still says "Wroo wroo!" with great
enthusiasm when she sees me get my car keys out in the morning.
"Molly," I say,
"want to go to church?" And she follows me, happily, if hoppily.
challenges, just as families do, making hard decisions and saying goodbye to
people they love and sometimes limping along as best they can. It's happening in most churches: a tough look
at the budget, the worrying news that a member has lost his job or that another
must move away to keep hers, a sharp gasp when we open the oil bill.
When a family is
in crisis, things can go one of two ways. You've probably seen it. In some
families, people rally around and help each other, and in their love and care,
even a loss can seem like a celebration of what family means. In other families,
people point fingers, whisper behind each other's backs and make a bad situation
It's the same way
in a church family, whether there is anxiety over a search or worry about a leak
or aggravation about a change in routine. We can calculate impending doom, or we
can look for signs of life and celebrate them where we see them, for as long as we see them.
Those who wait for the Lord *shall* renew their
I'm afraid it may not always look like the kind of strength we want to see or feel, that physical or material vitality we remember from the days of having a puppy, or being in our twenties, or seeing the Sunday School building overflowing back in the 1950s. I want to believe God works through our weakening and our diminishing, that when we come to an end we will become the ground of some new being.
We shall "Wroo" and not be weary.