A Jump-Start Kind of Day
A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson
“He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on 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 40:29-31 (NKJV)
Recently, I had a moment that every driver dreads: I went into the garage to start my wife Debra’s car and nothing happened.
Normally, I turn the key to the right, all the way, then release it. Immediately, the car would crank, then purr. Not today. I tried again. I pressed the horn and nothing happened. We had driven the car the day before and there was no hint of trouble. I was perplexed, but I knew what to do.
For such a time as this, I had bought a policy with the American Automobile Association (AAA) that would allow me to call for assistance if ever I had a problem with our cars. When I called the Customer Care Line, the phone was answered quickly. The attendant asked my name. When I responded, he called me by my name and asked me if I was safe. I responded yes. He then asked, “How may I help you today?”
When I explained the problem, he said that he understood and would dispatch a service truck to help me. He asked me to wait patiently and gave me an approximate time when my help would arrive. I waited and tinkered on some other tasks while waiting. Before too long, the AAA truck drove up to my house. The mechanic was polite and accommodating. His name was Frank. He asked me to turn the key. Again, nothing happened. He knew just what to do.
Frank had a portable device that he called a Hot Shot. He thought that it would give me enough power to jump-start the car. It did not. We laughed while musing about the good old days when you could jump-start a car by putting the transmission in neutral and pushing the car until it was going fast enough to “pop the clutch.” Not this car!
He had another option. It was a long set of cables that he connected to the battery in my car, then plugged into a contraption on the bumper of his truck. He said, “turn the key.” I did and the car turned on without hesitation. I remarked that I wished there was something like that to get me going when I feel tired and depleted.
His eyes lit up. Frank smiled as he said, “There is something you can use.” I replied, “Really?” Frank said, “Yes, the Bible says in Isaiah 40:29-31 that ‘He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But those who wait on 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.’”
I joined Frank as he was quoting the verse. Frank’s eyes shone brighter and his smile widened further. He asked me, with enthusiasm, “You are a believer?” I responded affirmatively and we ceremoniously bumped elbows. I told Frank that that verse was one of my favorite verses in Scripture.
Frank told me that when he was younger and a Track athlete, that verse was in his mind as he would sprint the last quarter of his races. He said that he rarely lost a race when he focused on that text as he ran.
We reminisced about times when we felt depleted, emotionally, spiritually or physically and intoned that verse. Invariably, we found renewal. Before he left, Frank paused and said something profound to me. He asked me, “What did you do while you waited for me to arrive?” My response was, “I worked on some other projects.” He replied, “That is what you should do when you are waiting on the Lord to renew you. Work on some other of His projects. Waiting on the Lord is not idleness; it is service!”
Frank continued, “You knew I was coming, so you did not just sit and pout, or sulk. You did something productive while you waited. Likewise, you know God is going to show up, at the right time, with just what you need to jump-start you. Just keep doing well and your help will always show up. You might have to wait a while, but your renewal is assured.”
I said, “Frank, you have made my day. Not just because you jump-started my car, but because you have given my faith a jolt too. Thank you.”
If you, dear reader, are feeling depleted, burned out, run down or dispirited, turn your mind to the Word of God (The Holy Bible). If you don’t have a favorite verse that restores your soul, may I commend you to the verse that Frank and I claim? Read Isaiah 40:29-31!
Wait on the Lord and He will jump-start your heart, your vision, your enthusiasm, your potential and your reality. Do something positive for someone else while you wait. Waiting on the Lord is not idleness; it is service.
Strangely, but thankfully, Debra’s car has started every time that we have needed it since that day when God used an agent named Frank to jump-start my car and my faith.
Chaplain Anderson served for 20 years as a U.S. Navy Chaplain. Over 26 years of active duty, he was promoted through the ranks from Seaman Apprentice (E2) to his final rank as Commander (O5) in the Chaplain’s Corps.
Prior to his Naval career, Chaplain Anderson pastored in the Allegheny East and Potomac Conferences of Seventh-day Adventists. His undergraduate preparation for ministry was completed at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md.
He has subsequently earned four graduate degrees: a Master of Divinity from Andrews University in Michigan, a Master of Education in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland and a Masters of Sacred Theology in Religion and Culture from Boston University. His Doctor of Ministry degree was conferred by Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.
Chaplain Anderson also completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He also holds certifications in Suicide Awareness and Prevention, Civil Mediation, Alternative Workplace Dispute Resolution, Temperament Analysis, Marriage Enrichment, Workforce Diversity, and is a certified Life Coach.