Renewed Strength

This morning, two of my favorite Scripture texts became real to me as never before. You probably love these passages as well. The first is Isaiah 40:28–31.

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 unsearchable.
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.

The second similar text is Psalm 103:1–5.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

 
All my adult life, I’ve considered these as beautiful, meaningful, and true verses. But they hadn’t come to expression in my life. I knew God did all these things in the figurative sense, even in the literal sense for some people. I saw God blessing me in many of these ways over and over; however, I felt older and weaker as I aged.

Yesterday was particularly brutal for some reason. Perhaps recent grief sapped my physical strength. Maybe my adrenaline reserves had been depleted. I suspect I’m fighting off a cold. Whatever the reasons, my physical strength seemed at an especially low ebb. Immediately after dinner, I fell asleep in my recliner. I woke and spent a brief time on the computer, before stumbling to bed at 10:00.

cloudy-skiesAnd I felt just as exhausted when I woke this morning. Although I’d slept fairly well, I was still tired. I crafted some correspondence and did a little online research that initially seemed a waste of precious time. Then I did my devotions.

I’m reading The One Year Chronological Bible, published by Tyndale, and I finished Job this morning. I absolutely love that book of the Bible! I love God’s direct speech to a mere mortal: “Brace yourself like a man” (Job 38:3, 40:7). I love God’s vivid imagery and relentless litany describing His power and sovereignty.

We’re all a bit like Job at times. When we suffer with no apparent cause, a niggling part of our sinful nature would like to give God a piece of our mind. Certainly, we’re tempted to ask, “Why?” But as someone once suggested to my husband and me, better questions to ask God might be, “What do You want to teach me through this?” and “How do You want me to serve You in this?”

As I spent time communing with God after my Bible reading, I realized how my earlier correspondence and online research had piqued my literary interests and fueled my flagging creativity.

The more I thought and prayed, the more I became aware of God’s blessings in my life and His awesome power. Is anything too hard for the God who laid the earth’s foundation and marked off its dimensions, who stretched a measuring line across it and laid its cornerstone, while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy (Job 38:4–7)?

My spirit was refreshed and my strength renewed. I felt as eager to tackle my work as a war horse spoiling for battle (Job 39:19–25). I’m rising on eagle wings.

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Signing books today!

Me and Bethany at my book signing in July. That’s my son-in-law, Nick, holding my grandson, Layton, in the background. It was 105 degrees on July 5, but it’s 31 degrees now with a forecast high of only 53!

This morning I’ll be signing copies of my book, Little One Lost: Living with Early Infant Loss, at The Sanctuary coffeehouse and Christian bookstore on the south side of the square in Pella. My daughter, Bethany, and I will be there from 10:00 until noon. Stop in for a free bookmark. I’ll also be giving Hugs and Kisses, mostly those of the Hershey’s variety.

Do you grieve the loss of a little one? Do you wish you could help someone who does? Reasonably priced at only $10, Little One Lost is the kind of book you’ll want to have on hand so you can give it to someone who needs to read its biblical comfort.

My prayer is that today God will send into The Sanctuary those who need to read Little One Lost. If you can’t join me in person, will you join me in praying for God to do that? May he receive all the glory!

Little One Lost is written in accessible language and short chapters so it can be easily digested by people lost in grief’s fog.

Here’s a summary of the book’s content:

Published by Reformed Fellowship in Grand Rapids, the volume contains a preface that explains why I wrote the book, an appendix defining medical terms often used in related discussions, and six primary parts.

The first chapter in Part One, Acknowledging Our Loss, relates my own story, “The Hole in My Heart,” which appeared in the March April issue of The Outlook and is found online here. Other chapters in this initial part are Society’s Paradox, Knit Together, and Common Occurrence.

In Part Two, Losing a Child, several families relate personal stories of their various experiences: Repeated Loss, Medical Dilemmas, Hopeless Labor, Father’s Love, and Delivery Distress.

In Part Three, Bearing Infertility’s Loss, three families share their different perspectives on living with infertility: Empty Womb, Childless Marriage, and Supernatural Children.

Part Four focuses on Finding Our Comfort in these chapters: Not Lost, Biblical Comfort, Covenantal Comfort, Confessional Comfort, and Only Comfort.

Part Five, Grieving with Hope, deals with a variety of aspects related to grief, including guilt: Hopeful Grief, Guilty Grief, Being Forgiven, Forgiving Others, and Family Grief.

Part Six explores Healing Our Pain through Prayerful Work, Graceful Acceptance, Remembering Life, Compassionate Care, and The Hope in My Heart.