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When Life Beats the Snot Out of You


Our second post is from Stephen Altrogge. From time to time, we have one of those days, or one of those weeks, or months or even one of those years! Times when issues and problems just seem to mount up.

On his blog earlier this year, Stephen discussed renewal from those kind of times. Stephen works as a pastor at the Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, PA, and in his own words, where his main duties include leading worship, working with college students, and shining his dad’s shoes. He also has written a number of worship songs that have been included on Sovereign Grace Music albums. Stephen is the author of several books, and when not shining his dad’s shoes, you can find Stephen drinking coffee or playing video games.


Sometimes life has a way of just beating the living snot out of you. You wake up, sit in two hours of stifling traffic, get to work, get chewed out by the boss, get home, find out your basement is flooded, go to bed, and do it all over again. Or, you spend your day taking care of hordes of children who go from one room to the next, razing each room to the ground, like some sort of toddler vikings. By lunch time you’re exhausted. By bed time you’re hoping that Jesus comes back before morning. Or maybe you’re taking care of a sick parent or spouse. Or maybe you’re battling chronic back problems. There are a thousand different circumstances that can beat us up and suck our strength.

So what to do? What to do when we feel like poo and we look like it too? I’ve got to admit, most of the time I just want a break. A break from the kids. A break from the insanity of work. A break from life. I want to sit down in front of the TV, eat a jumbo size bag of chips (kettle-cooked please), and think about nothing. I want some me time. Some veg time. Some “don’t bother me or I might blow a blood vessel” time.

But is that really the solution? I don’t think so. Don’t get me wrong, we need the right amount of sleep and rest, but ultimately our strength comes from somewhere else.

Psalm 103:5 says that God is the one:

…who satisfies you with good, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Eagle youth. Sounds like some sort of Occupy Wall Street punk band that wears tight jeans and smokes unfiltered cigarettes. But it also sounds like what I need. I need God to renew my youth – my strength, my endurance, my perseverance – so that I can keep going. When I’m worn out, physically and spiritually, I desperately need to be renewed. I need something that can’t happen simply by a good night’s sleep. I need true, inward, God-given renewal, so that my love for Christ burns hot again.

And notice how God renews us: by satisfying us with good. God wants to renew us by satisfying us. Sometimes that good thing will be having our circumstances changed. But I don’t think that’s usually the way God does it. The way that God satisfies us is by giving us himself. His power. His strength. His joy.

If you’re feeling weary and worn and stretched thin, go to God. If you’re feeling like butter that’s been scraped over too much bread, run to God. If you feel like the youth and vigour you once had is gone, run to God! Go to him in prayer and his Word. He wants to satisfy you. He wants to renew your youth.