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“God gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless.  Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those 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 40:29-31

A dead car battery just before Christmas set me to thinking about issues greater than a car not starting in the morning.  I’m sure you’ve already noticed it, but I am seeing that our universe is running down.  Scientists say we won’t run completely out of power for billions yet more years, but signs of our world wearing out abound.  Your car battery will always go bad, never better.  Your house will need repainting and your plumbing will clog.  Your porch will sag, and viruses will attack your computer.  It’s all the fault of The Second Law of Thermodynamics.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics says that every ordered system tends towards disorder, if not acted upon by outside energy.  Renowned science writer Isaac Asimov aptly described this process towards disorder in the Smithsonian, June 1970: 

Another way of stating the Second Law then is ‘The universe is constantly getting more disorderly!’  Viewed that way we can see the Second Law all about us.  We have to work hard to straighten a room, but left to itself it becomes a mess again very quickly and very easily.  Even if we never enter it, it becomes dusty and musty.  How difficult to maintain houses, and machinery, and our own bodies in perfect working order: how easy to let them deteriorate.  In fact, all we have to do is nothing, and everything deteriorates, collapses, breaks down, wears out all by itself – and that is what the Second Law is all about.

But it is The Second Law of Spiritual Thermodynamics that has left me reflecting since that morning my car battery wore out.  I’m seeing that what is true in the physical world is also true in the spiritual.  We are tending toward spiritual disorder and disintegration, unless acted upon by outside energy.  The Bible and all human experience teach that human relations tend toward disorder, unless acted upon by outside energy.  Marriages tend toward disorder, as well as families.  Friendships, churches, communities, and whole civilizations are tending toward disintegration.  The poet William Butler Yeats saw this and lamented: “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold”.  

I am seeing our beloved country right now tending toward disorder and disintegration, as it will most certainly continue, unless acted upon by outside energy.  Just as no car battery can ever recharge itself, so our nation cannot recharge itself.  Nor can churches recharge themselves, no matter the money expended or new programs launched.  All things are spiritually tending toward disorder and disintegration, unless acted upon by outside energy: God’s grace.  Salvation will never come from us!

In today’s Scripture we see The Second Law playing out as even the “youth” are “faint”, “weary”, and “falling exhausted”.   All things are running down and tending toward disintegration.   But it is those who “wait for the Lord” who are recharged and renewed.  There is a Power that comes from beyond us!

That morning my car battery went dead, I waited for the man from AAA to come and give my car new power.  Now, I am waiting for God to give my nation, and to give us, a Power from beyond ourselves for the critical days ahead.  For all things are tending towards disorder and decay, unless acted upon by outside Energy.  That’s not only a physical law of our universe, but a spiritual one as well. “God gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless.

Will you pray and wait with me,

photo by Vincent Maher


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