“God is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. God does not faint or grow weary; God’s understanding is unsearchable. God 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 40: 28-31
Weary feels like a word of the day these days.
Folks who might have started talking about quarantine counting by days, and then by weeks, might find it simpler to speak about months now. Since our lives changed in the COVID-era, it has been a long time. I know there are folks in many community living situations, who haven’t been able to interact with others in a long time. I know that families are counting down the days until remote learning ends for this school year. I know after the initial anxiety of mask-making, that for some it is getting tiresome to continue wearing this reminder that the world as we have known it has changed. If there was a time that it felt new and novel to respond to crisis, that time has passed.
At the same time, we are also facing a national crisis of injustice that can wear a person down. As Tatiana Mac writes: “White people: We gotta talk about burn out. You aren’t conditioned to be thinking about race this much because of your privilege. We need you to do all you’re doing today, tomorrow and until the end of time.” Learning to engage in anti-racism work takes effort, and it could be those of us with privilege are discovering just how tiring the work can be and those who have been doing this work for a long time may be feeling the heaviness of it in acute ways right now . All of the work towards a world of justice and equity can take a lot and sometimes it is hard to not get tired.
As Isaiah names, “Even youths will faint and be weary and the young will fall exhausted.” We are seeing some of the strains, and maybe you are feeling them in yourself as well. And yet still the author calls us to “Wait for the Lord.”
What is it that renews our strength? In Isaiah’s words it is waiting on the Lord. Seeing our actions not on their own, but as part of God’s continuing work of justice, and of love. How do you keep up the work of running and walking? You lean on God in God’s continuing action.
My heart was renewed this week, seeing the systemic change that today all of our LGBTQ+ kindred can work and not fear that they will lose their job because of who they are. My heart was renewed that the Dreamers in our country have a bit more assurance of being able to study, learn and live in the only country they have known as their home.
When we try to make a journey all by ourselves, we will get tired. It doesn’t matter how strong, powerful, or impervious we may believe ourselves to be. And so today if you are feeling tired, weary, or worn out, the answer isn’t to give up or cling to the false hope that the danger has passed. We have not “arrived” on the road to our communities’ health, wholeness, or justice. But we hope not in ourselves but in our God. May we learn to wait for the Lord. May God renew your strength today, and give us the power to participate in God’s transforming work of love.