Ever feel like a husk of your former self? This is not a question only for the older generation. Life is a tiring proposition. From the moment you are born you begin to die. David said, “For we are sojourners before You, and tenants, as all our fathers were; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope” (1 Chron 29:15). This was an expression of David’s humility before God. David was preparing materials to build the Temple, and he recognized that there was nothing man could do that would compare with the permanence and power of God.
Some days we seem to feel this more strongly than others. Job said man is “Like a flower he comes forth and withers. He also flees like a shadow and does not remain” (Job 14:2). The Psalms use this shadow analogy in a few places (Psalm 102:11; 109:23; 144:4). The Bible does not ignore this feeling common to men. Rather, Scripture acknowledges it and uses it to teach us how to deal with these feelings of futility.
“Why are you in despair, O my soul?” Psalms 42 and 43 tell us that the answer is to hope in God. No matter how weak we are, God is strong. No matter how inadequate we see ourselves, God has the answer and helps us through our weaknesses. If we come to Jesus, He will freely give us the water of life (John 7:37). Water brings life and sustains us. Living water is promised to spring up from within us, and this is directly connected to the Spirit of God (John 7:39). The idea expressed here is the same as that which God was telling Ezekiel (47).
God showed Ezekiel a vision of water coming from the Temple. When the water was measured, it became deeper and more abundant. He was told, “wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes” (Ezek 47:9). On the banks of this great river that flowed were growing trees; their leaves did not wither nor did their fruit fail. They would “bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing” (v. 12).
This is powerful imagery that is picked up in Revelation 22 where the waters flow in the very presence of God. Jesus spoke of the living water, which is the Spirit of God. This gives life and healing. God provides for us all we need to live to His glory in this life, and prepares us for what is to come as we will dwell in His presence eternally. The fountain of God’s love is more than sufficient for our needs, and only continues to deepen and sustain us as we abide in Him. “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
The life of a Christian is not the path of least resistance in this world. It often involves hardships, but we have more than enough to sustain and guide us in God’s Word and by the sustenance of the Spirit. If we listen to God’s will, He will be a source of living water that will keep us refreshed now and into eternity.
Occasionally, we lose our grip on what truly sustains us. We may even feel like a bag of dry lifeless bones. We “feel our age” or we see the futility of hanging on to the world that surrounds us. That does not mean the only answer is to dry up and be blown away. We can be revived. Ezekiel 37 shows the nation of Israel, which was dead and lifeless, and yet they were not beyond hope. They were not past saving. All it took was the breath of God, and just like the first breath of life that animated Adam’s pile of dust, God can bring us to life again. “Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live” (Ezek 37:5).
We sing about revival. We ask God to “revive us, again,” and to “let the revival begin in me.” Let’s hold on to those thoughts when we feel like that stretched, old shadow. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Gal 6:9).
What a shame it would be to give up in the final stretch of life. Those watching from the other side know what it feels like, and they are urging us on (Heb 12:1). No one knows when their race will be over. The end is always around a corner, and may well come upon us suddenly. We may find that the next trial will be our last. As many have said, it may be Friday, but Sunday is coming.
Can you make it around one more corner? Perhaps you cannot, but God can. You can’t make it anywhere on your own, but if you will let God fill you with His Word and let His breath enter you, you will not be too winded to continue. More than that, you can sail around that corner if you allow your strength to be the strength God supplies.