Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for 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. Isaiah 40:30-31
We are continuing our look at contrasts in Scripture marked by the conjunction “but.” This one is a little different because it’s part of a prophetic message rather than a narrative. We are very familiar with Isaiah’s predictions of the coming Messiah in chapters 7 and 9. However, Isaiah spends most of the first thirty-nine chapters pronouncing judgment not only on the people of God, but on the surrounding nations as well. He exposes their corruption and the emptiness of their worship. In a time of economic prosperity and political power, the messages are not especially well-received.
However, God knew that when the punishment came, when the nation cried out in captivity that they would need messages of hope, of restoration, and of reconciliation. In fact, chapters 40-66 are some of my favorite in Scripture. Chapter 40 begins those messages with the word “comfort.” It continues with the themes of God’s sovereign power and His tender care of His people. The chapter ends with a caution and a promise. That’s where we’ll focus.
The contrast is between those who wait upon the Lord, who trust Him to work on their behalf and those who don’t, those who rely on their own strength and their own abilities. What can we learn from this contrast?
Even in a best-case scenario, our strength and our resources will fail. Isaiah says even the youths, even the young men will faint and become exhausted. Picture elite athletes or the young men and women in our armed forces. They are in top physical condition. They have the best training and the best equipment. But it is not enough.
We like to believe if we can work harder, save more, eat right, exercise, read more, sleep more, have more family time, more me time, more quiet time that we can somehow unlock the secret to peace and happiness. Isaiah tells us our efforts apart from God will leave us exhausted.
We must wait for the Lord. This. Is. Hard. Trusting that God sees, that He knows, that He is at work when we don’t see anything changing is one of the most faith-challenging experiences we go through. If you have been there, you know. If you haven’t, your days are coming.
We benefit in many ways when we wait on the Lord.
1. We shall renew our strength. Now, I don’t think this is more of the same kind of strength that the youths and young men had in the first part of the verse. In other words, I don’t think God is giving us more of the strength that ultimately fails. No. He is giving us NEW strength, His strength.
2. We mount up on wings like eagles. Eagles don’t have to stay in the dirt, in the mud. They have an amazing ability to soar above it all. We who wait on the Lord-even while we are waiting on Him to move-get a fresh perspective on our situations. We can begin to see with a broader view, a God’s eye view. We see His faithfulness ad His promises kept and we hang in there.
3. We run and don’t grow weary. In the New Testament, Paul and others talk about the running the race set before us (Hebrews 12:1) and not growing weary (Galatians 6:9). Those writers may have had these Old Testament verses in mind. But you cannot separate it from waiting on, trusting in the Lord.
4. We walk and don’t faint. We do not lose hope and give up. We don’t quit. We know that no matter what happens Christ is walking through it with us.
This supernatural infusion of strength enabling us to keep going sets us apart from the rest of the world. But those who wait upon the Lord. They are different. They don’t rely on themselves. How are you doing? Are you exhausted? Ready to quit, to throw in the towel? If so consider of a moment, whose strength are you relying on?
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Isaiah 40:28-29
Let Him renew your strength.