Natural disasters, terror among and within nations, economic setbacks, medical crises, personal difficulties—how should you respond to such things?
Your response might be a sense of fear, being anxious of what might happen to you.
Your response might be a sense of powerlessness, believing there is nothing you can do to change or affect any of these things.
Your response might be to give in to a sense of hopelessness or despair for the future.
Your response might even lead to a questioning of your faith, wondering if what you believe is really true.
Isaiah writes chapter 40 of his book to the people of God who have experienced tremendous difficulty at the hand of God for their unfaithfulness. However, the message here is not one of condemnation but of comfort—”Comfort, comfort, my people,” says your God.
The fulfillment of this promise of coming comfort is guaranteed by the truth of the sovereignty of God. Isaiah shows His sovereignty over nations and rulers of nations (15-17, 23-24), over the world’s idols (18-20), over nature (21-22, 25-26). After establishing the sovereignty of God over all things, he draws out the implications in verses 27-31—how is life different because of the sovereignty of God?
1. Because God is sovereign, your life is never hidden from the Lord (27-28).
The eternal and creating God has you and your ways on his mind at all times. He never grows tired or weary—there is never a time when you cannot reach the Lord. His understanding is beyond fathoming—he operates in your life on the basis of infinite wisdom. You can draw comfort and confidence from an ever-present, omniscient Lord.
2. Because God is sovereign, you can find renewed strength when you are tired or weary (29-31).
The God who never grows tired or weary imparts strength and power to his people who are tired and weary. The Lord is giving you strength right now but when things get tough he gives you renewed strength—persevering trust that he will be sufficient for all your needs. This is a source of comfort.
3. Because God is sovereign, you can live with hope (31).
Hope produces a sense of stability/firmness in the face of changing world and personal situations. It is a hope that can never perish, spoil or fade because it is kept for you in heaven. Hope is what keeps you moving ahead and strengthens your faith when you don’t have all the answers to every question. It is a comfort which enables you to keep moving forward.
It is important to note that it is not those who hope in strength and power who renew their strength. It is those who hope in the Lord. It is the Lord we seek. The renewed strength comes when we are placing our hope in the Lord.
Someone has said: God does not dispense strength and encouragement like a druggist fills prescriptions. They are given as an accompanying blessing when he gives himself.
Turmoil within and among nations will continue; fascination with idols and rejection of God will continue; natural disasters around the globe will continue. In times when the world is in upheaval and your personal difficulties seem overwhelming, faithfully resting in the sovereignty of the Lord will enable you to gain renewed strength for the present and hope for the future.
Puritan Thomas Brooks wrote:
God has in himself all power to defend you, all wisdom to direct you, all mercy to pardon you, all grace to enrich you, all righteousness to clothe you, all goodness to supply you, and all happiness to crown you.
Where do you need to see the gracious provision of the sovereign Lord today?