The Object Lesson – Ping Pong Balls
For this demonstration, I invited a few guests on the stage with a simple challenge. Your job is to keep the ping pong ball in the air as long as possible without touching it. Naturally, each volunteer threw the ball as high as they possibly could (though I imagine someone could have tried to blow the ball up for a few seconds). Most of them were able to keep the ball in the air for less than a second.
After they had a turn, I asked if I could compete. I pulled out a hair dryer, flipped it on, and threw the ball into the air stream. The hair dryer will keep the ball in the air indefinitely. After everyone accuses you of cheating, remind them you didn’t say anything about using a hair dryer. In fact, you didn’t say anything about using any tools. It’s human nature to try to do it on our own, and not think about what power we might find outside of ourselves.
The Bible Connection – Rest in God’s Power
Isaiah 40 is one of many texts in the Bible that highlights the incredible strength and sufficiency of God. For most of the chapter Isaiah highlights all of the great things God has done. He knows the stars by name. His can hold the oceans in the palm of his hand. He has wisdom and power. He moves kings and princes around like pawns on a chessboard. Yahweh is not like the other gods people worship; he has real power and real authority.
But Isaiah doesn’t highlight God’s power to intimidate us or impress us. He does it to bring us peace. If God is really this great and glorious, then we can rest peacefully. We don’t have to worry about preserving life, fixing problems or controlling situations. The chapter comes to an end by pointing out how we can benefit from trusting in God’s strength. Here’s Isaiah 40:28-31:
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Yahweh is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the whole earth.
He never grows faint or weary;
there is no limit to His understanding.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and strengthens the powerless.
30 Youths may faint and grow weary,
and young men stumble and fall,
31 but those who trust 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 faint.
God must be the source of our strength. On our own, life is too hard. We get tired. We give up. We fail. But when we trust in him, are able to keep going. Our strength is renewed. What we cannot face on our own, we endure because our strength comes from him.
Scriptures to Study and Use
God providing strength for his people is one of the central themes of the Bible. Here are a few other passage to study.
When Moses was trapped between the Egyptian army and the Red Sea, God showed him the way out. Moses responds to this miracle with a song of praise in Exodus 15.
When we are in trouble and surrounded by enemies, we find that our help comes from God.
Paul writes about his weakness in this passage, and he concludes that weakness is okay. After all, in his weakness God’s strength becomes evident.