When something is spent, it is gone. Once you’ve spent $20, you can’t spend it again. You may have another $20 dollars, but the bill you handed to the cashier can only be exchanged once. It is spent. That holds true for the time you spent waiting for a bus or a match that is lit. You can’t get your time back nor can the match be re-lit. They are spent.
We have been wading through a pandemic for more than a year now. We’ve learned to don a mask, march the right direction down a supermarket aisle, stand a sneeze length distance from strangers and wave to loved ones through a window. Daily reports of infections, deaths and imminent vaccines have become white noise in the background of our lives. We are tired of all of this; and yet it goes on. I whispered to myself this week, that I feel spent. Emptied. Consumed. Exhausted. Drained. Without putting words into your own heart, I imagine many of you feel the same. The demands upon your head and heart, family and routine, expectations and hopes, both frazzle and fragment your internal resources. There is no shame in that, nor should it surprise us. It’s a natural and human emotion. Of course we feel spent. But here is a surprise. The word “spent” doesn’t fit our situation. It may describe how we feel; it does not define what we are. The adjective “spent” rightly applies to that which cannot be replenished or used again. A candle burnt the bottom. A pencil sharpened to the nub. A match that flares and then flames out. Each has reached the end of its capacity. But even when we reach the limits of our own capacity - we can be renewed.
Hover over Isaiah 40. As the prophet commands, “Behold your God!” Our Lord holds Mt. Everest in His palm. He strides over constellations and galaxies. He shepherds His flock by lifting us in His arms. He is perfect power and strength undiminished by time or effort. He has energy to share. From His infinite resources, He bestows capacity to those who have reached their end. He enables the exhausted to finish the race. He extends patience to meet the demand. He reinvigorates those who are spent.
The prescription for such a remedy is simple. We are to wait upon the Lord. We’re to lean upon Him, rather than dredging up the dregs of our soul’s best efforts. We are to let Him move first, instead of running ahead with our best plans and agenda. We are to surrender, as a glove to a Hand and allow the motion to be His. In doing so, our strength is renewed. What was spent, is revived. But more, we find ourselves doing what we’ve never done before! We can run without exhaustion and fly without fatigue. How long will the pandemic last? The experts can only guess. How long can we endure? By our God, as long as infinity and as high as the heavens.