Walk, Run, Soar

Isaiah 40:31 “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

If we think of weariness and exhaustion pulling us down until we collapse in a heap on the ground, then soaring on wings like eagles is as near to the opposite as anyone could relate in Isaiah’s day. For all their impressive size, wing spans as great as 8 feet across, eagles are able to lift themselves into the air without any hint of strain or effort. They soar at speeds up to 45 miles per hour, and dive at speeds up to 100 miles per hour, which were particularly impressive before the days of planes, trains, and automobiles. They do it all without betraying any weariness. Who ever saw a tired eagle?

God’s promises provide a similar lifting power, a power we don’t fully realize until life has laid us low. I can think of no better example from my own life than a number of years back when our son was just a few months old. We had to rush him to the hospital one evening because a virus known as RSV had made it almost impossible for him to breath. After a sleepless night spent in two different hospitals, we were exhausted. The devotion our pastor brought us the next morning on Joshua 1, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go,” was a simple one. But it had an incredible lifting power on a couple of weary souls. Those same promises can give us strength to soar like eagles as well.

And after they have lifted us up, they empower us for the race ahead. “They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Do you remember when you were a little kid, and running was just fun? There was the exhilaration of the speed, and wind in your face, the joy of being free to let your little limbs carry you as fast as they can? I suppose that we got tired even then, but it seems that it is when we get old that we feel the burn in our lungs. Our joints ache. Our legs grow heavy. Our faces flush, and it all makes running a drag. Few things tire us as quickly as running.

But those who hope in the Lord “will run and not grow weary.” The race ahead of us may take us through family problems, work problems, health problems, or even church problems. But when we are living in God’s promises, trusting and hoping in the gifts he has promised to give, then the Lord renews our strength. Then we can run through all the tasks and challenges ahead of us with a childlike sense of exhilaration, because the Lord himself will be the breath in our lungs, and the power in our stride, because he has also been the rest and the nourishment for our souls that makes us strong.

Maybe it all sounds too good to be true. Is Isaiah feeding us nothing more than pleasant platitudes, refreshing fantasies, nice sounding words to fool us into feeling better? I’ll let him answer our doubts himself. “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). The promise comes from the One who has always been there, who made us and all we know, whose power and wisdom knows no limits. He can’t make a promise too big. He won’t make an offer he is not good for. You will run, and not grow weary. You will walk and not be faint.

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