“They who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall soar with wings like eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). Sometimes life seems like it’s soaring like an eagle. We’re on top of the world with our cares and worries far below. At other times, life seems to slow to an interminable crawl. Our trials are ever-present, and as the days and weeks drag by, we may even begin to doubt and wonder whether God knows and cares.
Isaiah 40:31 is a magnificent passage about waiting on God. We don’t like to wait for much these days. Instant coffee, microwave dinners, and fast food are signs of the times. Too, in their spiritual development many have tried to take “short-cuts” to a closer relationship with God. We look for things that give us a “feeling” or “sense” of God’s presence, when really many of us should be looking for integrity and loving obedience in our own lives. Much as our society would like to think otherwise, there is no short-cut to heaven!
Gold ore doesn’t go directly from the mine into your wedding ring. A refining and purifying process must first take place. When gold is heated to very high temperatures, the impurities, called dross, are separated and removed. What is left is pure, precious, and valuable to its owner. So too must our lives sometimes face the furnace of affliction as we grow into godliness. Job spoke of his affliction this way: “When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).
Sometimes we can soar with the eagles — Jesus was well-liked and popular throughout some of His ministry. Significantly, both He and His disciples were invited to a seemingly important wedding at Cana (John 2:1-2). At this stage of His popularity, nothing Jesus did seemed to turn people off. Multitudes heard Him gladly and His disciples were growing in faith (Mark 1:29-34). Just as Isaiah had preached, the Savior was soaring. God, through His providence, allows all those who wait on Him to soar like that from time to time. Our ministries are producing fruit, our relationships are healthy, and it seems there is no problem that we and God together can’t handle. May God bless more of us with times like that!
Sometimes we must run with endurance — “And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray” (Mark 6:46). Jesus faced very trying and busy times in His ministry as well. After a while, the crowds that were such a blessing at first began to wear on the Lord. He desperately needed to pause and reassess His priorities, so He withdrew from the busyness of His life to spend time with His Father. Even the eagles can only soar so long before they must return to earth for refreshment and renewed energy. When the busy routine of life has us running here and there in a frantic search for meaning, will we have the wisdom to seek what’s valuable? The secret to Jesus’ energy and endurance was His relationship with God (Phil. 4:13).
Sometimes we must walk with humility — “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (John 6:66). Jesus’ words eventually became repulsive to many. He must have been tempted to call the disciples back, but instead He merely asked if the apostles would depart as well. When waiting on God requires our lives to slow to a walk, will we have the humility to walk hand in hand with Him? God has many ways of helping us grow. May He grant us the wisdom to be patient as He continually refines and purifies us for His service! — JB