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Sun Jun 16, 2013
by Josh Mcpherson
An Encouragement to the Weak
Are you overcome by the world around you, overwhelmed by the circumstances of your life, and have nothing left? Perhaps through frailty or failure you have drawn the conclusion that you are defeated and all hope is lost. Today, consider this word from Isaiah 41:14,
Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I am the one who helps you, declares the LORD; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
God doesn’t call his people “worms” because he despises them, or because they are less than human. He identifies them as worms here because they recognized themselves to be weak, pitiable, and trampled underfoot by the world. Throughout the chapter he says, in effect, “Though you are as worms, I am still your God. I will redeem you, and through me you will be more than conquerors!”
Not Without Hope
And this is, in one way or another, always the case for the Christian. Even though we are the people of the Most High God, we are derided by the world as foolish and weak, persecuted by our enemies as worthless and loathsome, afflicted by circumstances beyond our control, and on top of all that we hear the voice of the Liar saying, “You are forgotten at best, and forsaken at worst. You will lose, right here. You're done.”
Our union with Jesus is eternally secure for it is founded upon his everlasting love, and not our own strength or works.
I have met with too many believers who get to this place and rightly believe “I simply can’t do this anymore,” but wrongly conclude that there is no hope. There is hope because God also speaks. He speaks words of assurance to us in Jesus, that through the darkness of a painful life the gospel will shine brightly, and in your weakness his grace will supply you will everything you need to persevere, and in the end his righteousness will be manifested.
With Us, For Us, In Us
As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians,
But we have this treasure [of the gospel] in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (2 Cor. 4:7-11)
Though life is hard you are not done, because God is with us, for us, and in us through Jesus Christ. And our union with Jesus is eternally secure for it is founded upon his everlasting love, and not our own strength or works.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)
God Is Not Done
Perhaps you are done. Maybe you have come to see that you are not spiritually strong enough, or emotionally mature enough, to persevere in faith and godliness through the life God has given you. You may be done, but God is not. He is still at work, tirelessly carrying out his providential plan for your good and his glory that he decreed before the world was made. The good work that he began in you is one that he will also carry to completion (Ph. 1:6). You don’t have to try to be strong, but trust God to make you strong.
He gives power to the faint and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they 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 40:29-31)
You, who feel like a worm, can rejoice in this; your God is in control. He is your Redeemer.