January 7, 2023

Running Strong in 2023

It was supposed to be a simple skit for Bible School this summer. I was playing a wilderness survivalist. All I had to do was exit the stage at the end and walk to the back. But no, I thought it would be a great idea if I ran off the stage. My knees didn’t have the same idea.

In less than a moment my knee gave way as I turned to run, I tripped, barely made it to the back of the church and collapsed into a chair. From that night on through the next month, I walked with a noticeable limp. I still could walk, just not at full strength and certainly I was limited in what I could do, but I got by.

I got by.

Let that sit there, simmer in your mind for a moment.

Do you ever feel like you are limping in your life, and just getting by?

I know I have had moments like this over the last few years, especially at the beginning of the year. It felt like instead of hitting the new year in full stride, I was limping into January. I felt a weariness and I even sensed it in my family and among our church family. Honestly, I felt it among many in the body of Christ.

It was not that any of us or any of you did not desire to run strong or were not trying to run at full strength, but the reserves were just not there, and it felt like the power to do what we had in our heart to do was running low. Paul in Galatians says to the church, you were running well, what hindered you? (Galatians 5:7)

He was saying, you were running strong - what got in your way, what took the wind out of your sail, what caused you to get distracted, what obstacle was placed in your way, and you tripped and maybe even injured yourself?

For all of us, there have been many obstacles, too many to get into here, but bottom line, as a result, they caused a limp to our walk and a weariness to our stride.

Several months ago, I begin to pray personally, over our family and our church family: Lord let us enter 2023 without a limp and run strong, renew our strength, and improve our stride.

I believe the Lord led me to Isaiah 40:28-31.

It lays out God’s heart in answering the very prayer I was praying: The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

The passage speaks for itself in how the LORD will give strength and power to the weary and the weak. The key to receiving all He is offering is trust. We must trust Him alone to do what only He can do.

We must acknowledge we cannot heal ourselves, renew ourselves or fix our limp on our own. That means leaning, loving, listening, and looking to Him alone for our strength.

When we do, He has promised to give us power to our stride, help us leave that limp behind as we look unto Jesus and run strong into 2023!

This is my prayer for us all, may God bless each of you in this New Year!

Pastor Michael