Thought for the Week: 7th February 2021

Our thought this Sunday is by Peter Sheasby

Spiritual refreshment

 

“Don't you know? Haven't you heard? The LORD is the everlasting God… He never grows tired or weary. He strengthens those who are weak and tired. Even those who are young grow weak; young people can fall exhausted.” Isaiah 40: 28-30

Tiredness is not only a symptom of being old; weariness is not just an affliction of the infirm; even the young, the fit, and the healthy can tire and become weary of life. It is something we have all felt at times during the past ten months. Wouldn’t it be nice never to feel fatigued, to always have enough vigour for the tasks ahead? God is the source of our strength and support even when our own, limited, resources are running out. We may not get an actual energy boost, but God can give us the perseverance and the optimism to carry on.

But those who trust in the LORD for help will find their strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak. Isaiah 40: 31

That is God’s promise, for us who are weak, to give strength, to help us cope even when the body gives up, the bones creak, the mind wanders, and we feel worn out. God never grows tired; God is always there, willing to help if we will but ask. In this Year of Prayer we are invited to turn to God in our exhaustion and find renewed life.

With God’s help, we can.

We are all missing our holidays and even days out, when we can get away from it all. We need to rest our minds as well as our bodies and be renewed and recreated. Jesus was no different, regularly he sought solitude, space and time for prayer and renewal.

Very early the next morning, long before daylight, Jesus got up and left the house. He went out of town to a lonely place, where he prayed. But Simon and his companions went out searching for him, and when they found him, they said, "Everyone is looking for you." Mark 1:35-37

It is overwhelming to be always in demand. Our NHS workers have been hard pressed for nearly a year now; there has been no break in the needs of those with Covid and those with other ongoing illnesses. There is concern that many of them, when the pressure is at last relieved, will struggle with PTSD or at least the nightmares of the stresses they have experienced whilst on duty.

Similarly, those who have been caring for loved ones at home, especially spouses with dementia, have been living through extra trying times, often unable to find relief as respite care has been restricted. Those who are bereaved appreciate the callers who contact them to offer love and encouragement, but they too need time and space to take in their loss and adjust to the changes in life.

Jesus must have felt the demands on him were never ending; he got up “long before daylight” it says! The only time he could get away was before anyone else was awake and could see him go. It is a clandestine flit... without being spotted because he needed refreshment, to refill himself. But he soon makes himself available again and moves on to share himself in neighbouring places. It is helpful to know that even Jesus couldn’t just keep going, but needed prayer and spiritual refreshment, just as we do. We cannot always be giving out, but we also need to receive, especially at the moment.

God is able to refresh us and then sends us out again to speak and act the Good News.