Times of Refreshing

“Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”Isaiah 40:31

 What Israel wanted in captivity, the church of Christ now needs in its present situation—power! We seem to lack the power to do that which we were created to accomplish. Potentially, the church has within itself all that is required to complete the great mission that was handed to her by the Master Himself, but the simple fact is, it seems that either we have failed, or at best we are struggling to carry out our duty. Every church should be a great force for the Gospel and good in the community where she is planted, and every Christian should be a great power for virtue and righteousness in the circle where he moves. We ought to be able to make “the good confession” (1 Tim.6:12-13) for Christ and display power to live an influential and godly life. We ought to have the power to execute a useful and effective ministry for the Lord—but can we say this is the case? Let’s be honest—where is the power?

What is the condition on which this power is given?

Notice the first revelation that we are given is that this secret to the soul’s renewal is open to all. Who are “those that wait”?—all who fulfill this condition. The words “will gain” in the Hebrew mean “to change.” What this means is that experiences like these alter our character and change our convictions.

What does it mean to wait for the Lord? Three facts are involved in waiting:

  1. A patience for the exercise of God’s power on our behalf.
  2. An earnest appeal to Him in believing prayer to fulfill His Word. (Ps.38:15)
  3. A steadfast attention to His Word and His grace (Ps.39:17).

To expect without seeking is presumption; to seek without expecting is unbelief. Both expecting and seeking form the happy ingredients of the Christian who is growing in grace.

What is the result? “They will mount up with wings like eagles” (v.31).

The eagle is the biblical metaphor for strength (Ex.19:4; Deut.32:11). The proper translation of this phrase is “they cause their wings to rise, or lift their wings high, like the eagles.” In other words, those whose course of life is focused on Jehovah are, as it were, “possessed of wings.” We will grow from strength-to-strength and from glory-to-glory (Ps.84:7; 2 Cor.3:18). Running the way of His commandments will not tire us (Ps.119:32). Here is the promise to those who wait upon the Lord:


  • Progress is made.
  • Power is felt.
  • Perseverance is granted.

Started from the Bottom… Now We Here

One of the most humbling things about life is God’s sovereign and providential ability to completely wreck your plans. I mean when God takes His huge eraser and His red correction pen and not just alters, but completely bulldozes your world. What happens when life doesn’t go as planned (or as I planned)? What happens when you are called to start over and start right back at square one? This has been a reality of mine with recent university transfers and starting a new medical program and, at times, it was very difficult for me to see the new beginning as a fresh starting block for the work of God. One way I find continual encouragement is through the Scriptures and I pray that this one verse would lift up and strengthen you all.

Psalm 34:8 reads, “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” I know some of you are thinking, what in the world does this have anything to do with starting over? My point in using this wonderful Psalm is to point you, fellow Christian, to the person of God. Everything that God does is good! Every stage in our lives must be centered on the attributes of God and if we know who He is, we will know how to properly respond. Rule #1 in dealing with starting over: We must always start with God.

As sinful humans, we allow our culture, circumstances, and expectations to have way too much influence over our lives and we struggle with new beginnings no matter how great or small. For me, I have found the simplicity of the Words in this Psalm as a reminder that if I focus on who God is, I can now live life with a renewed zeal. His character proves Himself as one who is trustworthy, so dear Christian, trust Him—for everything God does is good. If we know He is good, we will now embrace the new beginning as a new platform that God has appointed uniquely for you to bring glory unto Him. Jesus Christ must be the One in whom we harbor and as soon as we embrace who He is, we will then be able to rightly relate with our new start. We slowly see that it is nothing about us, but that it is all centered around Christ and bringing Him to the forefront of every aspect of our lives so that all those around us may see the work of God. I encourage you to taste and see the goodness of God, be thankful in the midst of fresh starts, and press into Jesus, asking that you would be used as a vessel solely to bring glory to God.

Embracing the Opportunities of Re-starts

I don’t know about you, but for me, starting over on something is just about the worst thing that can happen. Fairly jarring examples of having to start over in my own life have included a college paper that I forgot to save on the floppy disk (that’s right, floppy disks rule!) and having to go back to Level 1-1 on Super Mario Bros. I have come to notice that there is a strong correlation between my negative feelings on starting over on a particular task and the amount of time and energy I have spent on that task. If that is the case, then starting over in the family arena seems especially difficult. Where do you spend more time and energy than on marriage and raising kids?

Starting over in the family can take many different forms: dealing with tragedies such as death or divorce, moving the family to a new city, or adjusting to life after the kids move out, to name a few examples. In each case, starting over often brings with it the temptation to fear. It could be the fear of the unknown, the fear of failure, or even the fear of hard work. Often, instead of turning outward to God in these situations, we end up turning inward to ourselves. The result of such inward focus is inevitably more fear, greater anxiety, useless self-pity, and plain selfishness.

In the book of Ruth, Naomi had to start over after the tragic loss of her husband and two sons. She evidenced some of this inward self-pity:

She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has witnessed against me and the Almighty has afflicted me?” (Ruth 1:20-21)

All that Naomi could see in that moment was the pain of loss and the difficulty of the future. She would have to start over, but what purpose could she have now?

Naomi did not abandon her faith in God, but her view of His character was incomplete. She forgot that God specializes in using the weak and unexpected people of this world to bring about world-changing purposes. She did not realize that starting over meant new opportunity for her and for her daughter-in-law, whom God had placed in her life. God would go on to use both of these women in their “starting over years” to play a vital role in establishing the line of King David, from which came the Messiah, the King of kings.

Maybe you are frustrated by having to start over in your family. Maybe you are feeling anxious about it. Maybe you even feel like you have already served your purpose in this life, and God has little use left for you and your family. I think God would have us to feel excited about starting over, because in a new situation God gives new opportunities to glorify Him in your family. Are you willing to take those opportunities?


I feel the need to admit something. As Pastor Knight says, “Confession is good for the soul”—right? Although confession or admission don’t usually feel good, I believe there’s truth in that statement. If you want think about what God’s Word would say about it, 1 John 1:9 is a good place to turn: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This is good news for my soul, because the clean slate of God’s forgiveness and cleansing is exactly what my soul needs to start over!

So, my admission: I’m tired. I’m tired of the struggle. I’m tired of the stress and pressures. I’m tired of feeling like life hours are being traded for money, simply to try to stay “in the black.” I’m tired of feeling squeezed, the emotional pitfalls that come, and the dark clouds that stay. Most of all, though, I’m tired of my being tired. Where is my joy in this journey?

There are moments or days when the heaviness of our trials doesn’t bother me so much, and I’m grateful at those times for God’s abundant provision, because I get to experience regularly the promise made to us in Philippians 4:19—“…my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Unfortunately, I don’t always bask in gratitude as I consider the road we’re on. In fact, as I was very recently watching those dark (emotional) clouds swirling overheard, God directed me to another starting over verse—“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor.5:17). This is another promise to hold on to as well as a reminder that my life is no longer to be about worldly things anyway: now, because I was made new, all that I live for is to be about spiritual things—namely, God’s glory!

As I concern myself with who God is, what He has done, and what He requires, I can trust His competent and compassionate care for my family. And because I’m a new creature, I don’t need to worry myself with the tiresome trials or stressful struggles of this world; my spiritual eyes can look to Jesus, who will provide.