First published in March 2014

Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:30-31


Isn’t it great when you see an older person with a youthful spirit having fun? Their aches and pains forgotten. Living in the moment. I’d like to be that way, especially as I get older.

How I would love to forget about the symptoms of my disorder and side effects of the medications I take! I want to learn how to live, caring for my body and mind, but not worrying too much about them. I’d like to live wholeheartedly, hoping in the Lord, renewing my strength, finding interesting and exciting things to do. Don’t we all want this?

So many of us—young and old—feel burdened by physical and mental health problems. Life becomes hard to cope with. We are forced to adjust our lifestyle—sometimes a lot. But even when things look bad, a positive approach is possible.

Joshua Prager, a writer who was in an accident at age nineteen and left hemiplegic, inspired me greatly. He said that “what makes most of us who we are most of all is not our minds and not our bodies and not what happens to us, but how we respond to what happens to us.”

It’s simply how we respond that matters! How encouraging that is! Because of where my attitude has been I had almost forgotten this universal truth.

We have so many wonderful examples of individuals who responded well to their challenges. Their lives have left lasting impressions on us. Remember Terry Fox, the young Canadian who had lost a leg to cancer but ran 5400 km partway across Canada? He raised 24.7 million dollars for cancer research with his courageous attempt. Then there is Nick Vjuicik, born without arms or legs. His wonderful sense of humour and positive messages of hope are an inspiration to many.

It all depends on how we respond.

There are so many more people to encourage us, including elderly people who kept right on going, in spite of their age. Michelangelo, for example, was still producing masterpieces when he was eighty-nine. And in Joshua 14:7-13, we read how Caleb wanted to enter the Promised Land though he had reached the age of eighty-five. He was eager to do God’s will.

Is that the secret? Is that where strength in “weary” people comes from? Is it the enthusiasm to do what God wants them to do?

What could our own response to life be, despite the problems we face? How could we, with God’s help, renew our strength? The answer will be different for each of us. We are unique human beings, each with our own set of gifts. All we have to do is learn what God wants us to do with them.

Ask Him and listen to what He has to tell you.

Let’s get excited about life and discover the many things waiting for us to do. God has much to offer us—even with our challenges. It’s in this hope that we’ll find strength.