Join me for a momentary tale, a tale of two men. Each has been charged with the duty of digging a drainage ditch, man No. 1 on one side of the road, and man No. 2 was to dig on the opposite side.
Man No. 1 arrives first, and begins to attempt to dig that drainage ditch…using his bare hands. He is feverishly scraping the soil with his fingertips, pulling weeds and grass clumps. It is achingly slow and arduous, but he is determined.
Man No. 2 shows up for his side of the road, but attached to his vehicle is a trailer carrying a backhoe. He backs it off the trailer, fires up the engine, and in seemingly no time, the ditch is complete.
He glances over to man No. 1, who for all his effort, has barely dug out a decent hole. “Hey friend, can I give you a hand?” Imagine the foolishness expressed if man No. 1 answered by saying, “No thanks…I’m doing fine.”
In many ways, this simple story illustrates what each of us go through in our lives when we try to live it out in our own strength, by our own ideas, and through our own strategies. We can spend hours, months, years…clawing through the complexities of life, and make very little headway. We miss out completely on the battles already won for us by another, with Whose help and strength we could easily overcome the most difficult trials and situations.
The “Whose” to which I refer is God, who has left for us His word-the Bible. In John 15:5 (ESV), we read:
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
In that passage, Jesus was teaching that, for those who believe in Him, who have submitted their faith and trust in Him, they are connected to Him in a way that empowers them with His strength, with His mind, with ability to overcome by His grace. And, if we are not connected to Him, we won’t bear fruit in our lives, for apart from Him…we can do nothing.
The prophet Isaiah uttered what is one of the most loved and well-known Bible verses, in Isaiah 40:31 (ESV):
…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.
Eagles are able to soar the highest and have the most freedom during the time of a storm. When the winds are blowing, the sky threatening…that is when the air pressure is the lowest, and all the eagle has to do is stretch his wings, and let the winds carry him.
God’s word is a call and an invitation-for us to exchange our weakness for His strength. That happens when we abide in Him, and wait upon Him. He answers with renewal, with his strength, and in it we can soar.