June 10, 2009
The Promise of Wings
Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the LORD,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on 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.
Keep silence before Me, O coast lands,
and let the people renew their strength!
(Is. 41:1 - the passage that immediately follows 40:31)
The latter portion of this passage is all too familiar to most of us. We've probably seen the countless plaques, posters, and other random merchandise inspired by the verse of Isaiah 40:31. But, have we ever stopped to consider the context or implication of this verse? Do we even believe this to be true in our lives? This verse is Christian "cliche" but I'm not convinced that we take it seriously enough. Have we ever noticed the passages both before and after 40:31? Before (my paraphrase): Everlasting God, creator of the entire universe, never faints in giving power to the weak. After (my paraphrase): I can silence the earth just to renew their strength.
There is a certain cause and effect in this passage that, simply put, looks like this:
Reality: God is so strong that He never tires or grows weary from helping us.
Condition: waiting on the Lord
Result: fly like eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not faint.
I know I'm guilty of passing up this promise of endurance because I lack the patience to wait on God's timing and perfect will. Usually I'm in such a hurry to make something happen that I'm willing to step out on my own flimsy limb, assuming it will hold. It never does, and time after time, God teaches me the lesson of total dependency on Him. Earlier in the chapter a verse really caught my eye; "Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has taught Him?" (vs. 13). Who are we to think we can push our agenda on the Spirit? It's so simple and still so easy to lose track of. We are not at all captains of our own ships, steering our lives in whatever direction we please. Instead, we're more like helpless passengers who, once on board, learn to enjoy the voyage trusting the Captain is in charge with a crew who are fully aware of the conditions. In our case, even after waiting this short vapor we call life, and the ship goes down, we are still being held by the Anchor of our very souls. I don't know about you, but there is such confidence and reassurance in the thought that God lacks nothing, He is stunned by nothing, He is held back by nothing, and He spares no expense to come to our aid. It is best said here:
Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand,
And His arm shall rule for Him;
Behold, His reward is with Him,
And His work before Him.
He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young. (Is. 40: 10&11)
If you feel (or think) as though you are failing in your walk as a believer in Jesus, maybe it's time you surrender your own efforts to please God (or especially others) and begin to wait on His renewing strength to take you up in flight, to run life's marathon, or even to endlessly walk without ever growing tired. The beauty of this passage is that He doesn't just promise wings, which at times, seem nearly impossible to fathom, much less, achieve. He gives us what we need, when we need it - even if that is helping us with only the simple act of walking. We might be praying that God would turn us into spiritual giants who are gifted at soaring high like eagles but He might see fit to teach us first how to walk or run. Regardless of the sequence of flying, running, or walking - God promises supernatural help along the journey IF we wait on Him. Don't get ahead of yourself. Stop trying to strap on your own wings. It's not worth the battle to run (or even walk) on your own, you will collapse in the end. Wait for the Lord to come upon you with His strong hand and even the most daunting of impossibilities turn optimistic possibilities.
The major difference between the promise of wings and that of weary less running or faint less walking is that, with a lot of practice and hard work, most of us could run and walk fairly well. Growing wings is in a category all together impossible apart from the supernatural supply of God's power.
"Those who wait upon the Lord shall obtain a marvelous addition to their resources: they shall obtain wings! They become endowed with power to rise above things. Men who don not soar always have small views of things. Wings are required for breadth of view. The wing-life is characterized by a sense of proportion. To see things aright we must get away from them. An affliction looked at from the lowlands may be stupendous; looked at from the heights, it may appear little or nothing. This "light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." What a breadth of view!" - (Springs in the Valley, Chas E. Cowman)
For deeper digging, read Isaiah 40 & 41 - both are loaded!