What does your success fantasy look like? When you find yourself working too hard at God’s work, what is that you are striving for? From which planet did God bring you to save this one?

In 1989, Jim Bakker was sentenced to 45 years in prison on fraud related charges.  In the flyleaf of his book ‘I Was Wrong’, it describes how Bakker came to a deeper understanding of Jesus in prison.

‘And in his deepest need, he discovered that the upbeat slogans and pat solutions that he had so successfully offered on television were useless to sustain him through his unrelenting shame and grief.
Inmate Bakker, convicted felon, found in prison what Jim Bakker the preacher and television personality never could.  He found fellowship with a different sort of God—One who could identify with poverty and pain.
Stripped of all power and subjected to the daily humiliations of prison life, Bakker was compelled to embrace the whole of God’s message—not just the ‘feel good’ parts.  God showed Bakker that intimacy with Him was far more important than frenetic work for God.‘

Jim Bakker enjoyed a measure of public popularity that most of us would not gain in twenty lifetimes. It took his complete failure and humiliation to introduce him to the Strong God who lives among weak men.

I want to live healthy in a success-sickened world. Remaining healthy requires that I take strong note of my weakness and God’s strength. The prophet Isaiah had a message for people who had reached a breaking point in their struggle.

Isaiah 40
1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord 's hand double for all her sins. 

Against the instincts of an outspoken preacher, God instructs Isaiah to speak tenderly a message of comfort and restitution. For the sinful failings and difficult faith journey they had been on, God speaks about forgiveness and the end of hardship.

Have you found yourself wearing out and growing unhealthy in your work for the Lord? The starting point of your renewal is your discomfort. It is in the place of pain and discomfort that our previous God seems too small. Or is it that God is not small enough to join our team of ninety-pound weaklings?

Surprisingly, God is best known in human desolation, not human achievement and strength. The desert theme of John the Baptist speaks of a level path through the desert. In your wilderness, John says prepare for God.

You will never find Jesus so precious as when the world is one vast howling wilderness.  Then he is like a rose blooming in the midst of the desolation, a rock rising above the storm.
... Robert Murray M'Cheyne (1813-1843)