I remember when we were at school one of the things all of the boys would do was brag on the strength of their father. They’d say: “My dad’s bigger than your dad,” and be met with, “Yeah? Well my dad is a black belt in karate,” or “Well my dad is B.A Baracus”. Being aware that we’re not actually that big or that strong in ourselves, our childhood self roots its identity in our parents and we always go for size and strength. Dad is big. Dad is powerful. Dad could grind your dad into mincemeat. All that jazz.
Have you ever noticed that no one ever said: “Yeah, well my dad is really understanding,” or, “yeah, well my dad really cares about how I feel”. We may focus entirely on strength but under the surface it’s the care and understanding that we’re getting our sense of security and comfort from.
We may focus entirely on strength but under the surface it’s the care and understanding that we’re getting our sense of security from.
Something I particularly love when reading the bible is when we glimpse bits of how God thinks. It’s amazing to know His mighty acts, and His character is shown through them, but there is something so powerful in seeing a little of how He thinks.
I’ve read Isaiah 40 so many times; it’s one of my favourite passages. It’s great for encouragement and the impact it can have when you talk to others about it or speak those words of God’s strength over their life is awesome. Over time I think I’ve became so familiar with it that I never noticed the small line, ‘His understanding is unsearchable’.
In a recurring focus on His magnificent strength and energy I’d managed to miss something that is hugely significant. It’s like always bragging on how tough your dad is at school without ever saying that he loves you and understands you.
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 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.
– Isaiah 40:28-31 (ESV)
Strength and power is great, and in God we have the strongest and most powerful force in existence on our side, but you know what? For some reason I find the fact that we know the most understanding being in existence even more exciting.
It’s great to know that your Dad is bigger than anything that comes up against you, but how fantastic is it to know that He understands completely how you feel and why? That whether you’re in the valley of the shadow of death or at your highest height God knows and understands deeply your circumstance, your feelings, your emotions, your potential.
The verse tells us that his understanding is unsearchable, there is literally no end to it. We will never ever find a limit to what he understands because he understands on the deepest level possible everything we’re going through.
In the context of the passage this is such an immensely powerful thought, it unlocks and explains why strength comes to us and the reason God will make us rise up and be unstoppable. Why? Because He sees into our circumstance and He understands the pain that we feel; He understands the hurt or the confusion and He knows how we found ourselves in whatever our situation is. He doesn’t come to the rescue just because He can, but because of this deep understanding of our state and a loving desire to step in. It’s not all about being the biggest, it’s about being the most loving.
He doesn’t come to the rescue just because He can, but because of this deep understanding of our state and a loving desire to step in.
When we, like David in Psalm 40, are in the miry clay, we can have complete assurance that God understands. If we wait on Him then He will help us not just because we can, not just because He loves to demonstrate His awesome power – though He certainly does use our lives to do so – but because He knows. He understands, He cares and He wants to help.
What an amazing confidence we can have that no matter how we feel, no matter that we might think no one else ‘gets it’ we have a God who does and who wants to act on our behalf. His thoughts are for us and understand us, and it’s that which gives us true confidence in His power.
The thought that God totally understands where we’re at in life, what got us here, and what to do next is fantastic. I really think this is an area that sometimes as Christians we can struggle to grasp fully. This single line is so revealing because it gives us that extra insight into how God thinks of us; He’s not up in the distance tutting, He’s right with us understanding what’s going on and willing us to take the strength that He has to get us through it.
The thought that God totally understands where we’re at in life, what got us here, and what to do next is fantastic.
It says everything about His character that despite His infinite strength He can understand us in our weakness. I sometimes struggle to understand why someone might have a particular weakness or be in a particular circumstance. I’m sure some people struggle to understand my weaknesses or circumstances. God on the other hand? He understands all of us, and a whole lot more besides. That’s why next time you’re in a stitch you can guarantee that if you wait on Him, strength will rise.