For those "In The Arena"

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
— Isaiah 40:29

If you woke up with a world of cares or a mountain of work, you can appreciate these word from the pen of Theodore Roosevelt:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Roosevelt's words are powerful. They have been encouragement for the downcast and motivation for the struggling. But Roosevelt's words, great as they are, don't provide the power to pull me out of the mire. In the end, they still leave me with me!

Contrast that with Isaiah. He reminds God's people that the LORD gives strength to the weary and provides power for the weak. And who is the LORD?

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
— Isaiah 40:28 NIV

No matter the challenges in your arena, God is bigger. His presence and power is a promise for today and one of the key reasons we gather on Sunday. We need to be reminded of who God is. We need the amazing truth of gospel told to us again. We need the encouragement of God's people. As Eugene Peterson says,

Worship is the strategy by which we interrupt our preoccupation with ourselves and tend to the presence of God.

Revel in God's promise today. Lean on him and find his strength, but don't miss Sunday. It is part of God's rhythm to keep you anchored and focused on him. He is the key for surviving and thriving "in the arena."