He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 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 40:29-31
It seems everyone has a favorite Bible verse. For me it is the passage above from the old prophet Isaiah. I first heard this Scripture many years ago when I watched what is one of my favorite movies, Chariots of Fire, for the very first time. It is the true story of Scottish runner Eric Liddell who actually quotes this verse of Scripture in a homily that he delivers midway through the film. A very powerful scene!
It wasn’t until many years later when I was a minister myself that I began to reflect on what the old prophet meant when he wrote the last part of this verse thousands of years ago. Why flying, running, walking in that order? It seemed to make more sense for Isaiah to have written this verse in the opposite direction: walking and not fainting, running and not growing weary, soaring on wings of eagles. Doesn’t that make more sense since that is how we all learn to grow? We first learn to walk, then we learn to run, and finally we learn to soar!
But Isaiah is not giving us an analogy of biological growth as much as he is describing the journey we take with God. Yes, there will be mountain top experiences with God where it will seem as if we are soaring on eagles’ wings. Yes, there will be times in our life that God allows us to run like the wind! But our journey is one that will be marked primarily by walking. The journey we are on is one long road of obedience in the same direction. The journey is long to be sure and it is on a difficult road. Our road is marked by mountaintops and valleys. It is marked by potholes and pandemics. It is a journey that will be weary, and we will be exhausted. But the one who waits on the Lord, will have renewed strength. The one who hopes in the Lord will get home! We will walk and not faint.
Prayer: Lord as we continue on this exhaustive and weary journey may our hope be in You. May our strength be renewed. On this day, may we walk and not faint. Amen.