“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 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” (Is 40: 30 – 31).
In Israel, high above the Sinai desert, close to the mountains, eagles can be seen – riding the thermals. They lock their wings, cease their flapping and allow the hot currents from the desert floor to take them higher and higher. Gradually they pass the tops of mountains and fly even above the storms. At such heights, eagles can see 80 km in every direction. They can view the panoramic beauty of the mountains and plains; they can experience the exhilaration of not quite being in control. They are at peace; they are soaring.
If you were to liken yourself to a bird during times of pressure or stress, what would you compare yourself to?
Some people are like swans, gliding gracefully and peacefully on the surface but paddling like crazy underneath. Some are like hummingbirds, who flap so much that everyone can hear them!
Then there are the Emus. For them, everything is just too hard! Maybe there was a time when they could fly, but they don’t even try anymore. And some people are like Eagles, who lock their wings. They relinquish control to God. They ride the thermals and soar.
Everyone gets tired, weary, and discouraged. God understands that but this passage tells us that those who renew their strength, those who soar on wings like eagles, are those who don’t submit to discouragement. These people hope in the Lord.
So, what does it mean to hope in the Lord?
We know that ‘hope’ in the Bible is a close companion ‘certainty’. In fact, Hebrews 11:1 links both words to faith all in one sentence: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
In other words, when we hope for something in God, we can be sure of it.
The word ‘hope’ also occurs in several Psalms. Hope is found in God’s Word in 119:114; hope is found in His unfailing love in 33:18. But when it comes down to it – what does hope look like? What defines a person who is hoping in the Lord?
The Psalmist in 33:20 tells us that “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.” We wait.
Nobody enjoys waiting. Nobody gets up in the morning saying, “I am going to join queues today!” But if we do another word search for ‘wait’ in the Psalms, we see something interesting: The Psalmist in 5:3 is waiting expectantly; others are finding strength and courage in 27:14 and they are rejoicing in 33:20. Waiting is an active word, not a passive one. Why? Because in waiting we are saying, ‘Lord I trust in you and I trust in your word’.
In other words: ‘Lord, I am going to lock my wings; I am going to cease from my flapping; I am not going to pretend I’m ok (when underneath I am just going crazy), but neither am I going to give up and say that it is too hard. I going to lock my wings and I am going to declare with my mouth that I trust you.