…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. – Isa. 40:31 NIV
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The Prophet Isaiah was a prophet whose prophetic period covered the reign of four kings of Judah even though his prophetic activities occasionally extended into Samaria. He constantly warned the people of the anger of God and the first thirty nine verses of his book can be summarised as warnings and judgements that awaited the people whilst also giving hope of deliverance if they do change from their ways. But chapter 40 can be regarded as the turn around chapter where his message became predominantly that of hope.
The chapter opened with the message from the Lord of His intention to bring comfort to His people letting them know in verses 1 and 2 that their sin has been paid for. Isaiah, in verses 3 to 5 made them realise that the glory of the Lord will once again be revealed for all mankind to see reminding them from verses 6 to 8 that grasses and flowers may wither but the Word of the Lord stands forever. In verses 9 through to 11, he announces the arrival of the Lord with good tidings and rewards for His people adding that no one should question the sovereignty of the Lord in verses 12 to 20. He talks about the greatness of the Lord and attempts to describe it with words in verses 21 to 26 asking Israel not to question God’s ability to do what He had said He will do – vs. 27. He lets the Israelites realise the following about God in verses 28 to 30:
i. That the Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
ii. That God will not grow tired or weary.
iii. That God’s understanding no one can fathom.
iv. That God gives strength to the weary and
v. That God increases the power of the weak.
It is in the light of these that he advises those who decide to hope in the Lord in verse 31 which forms the foundation text of today’s Ministration by highlighting the following requirements that those who decide to hope in the Lord must have for their hope to be valuable.
i. They must renew their strength.
ii. They must soar on wings like eagles;
iii. They must run and not grow weary,
iv. They must walk and not be faint.
Christians need to remember always that no matter how hard the expression of anger of the Lord may feel in their lives, it remains as always an expression of love. He whom God loves, He will always chastise and they need to always hold on to this hope – Prov. 3:12. God is not a sadist god that enjoys seeing his children going through pain and all that the Christian need do during those periods of His rebuke is to remain hopeful that once they become genuinely remorseful, he will turn their sorrows to joy. No matter how bad the situation may be, he remains the only one that can turn it all around.
There is however no doubt that the waiting period can be a very emotional period that requires great spiritual resilience and the Prophet Isaiah in today’s scripture lists out the areas of personal development and awareness that will help the Christian successfully navigate this period.
i. A Christian who is hopefully waiting on the Lord cannot wait with human strength (ability). To wait on the Lord is beyond human ability and the Christian needs to plead with the same Lord for the ability to be successful with this decision as He remains the only one that can help one with that ability – Is. 40:29-30. This is because there will be too many options presenting themselves to the person, all making the waiting look either unnecessary, as they are like ready made options or there are satanic thoughts that are constantly reminding the Christian that God may or will not arrive as promised. All these thoughts have to be overcome in addition to the pain that accompanies the waiting period. Whatever you are hoping on the Lord for, you are better making the request for spiritual ability the major prayer point as you will need it without doubt to successfully come through the period.
ii. Isaiah adds that those who hope in the Lord must soar on wings in an eagle manner. Three abilities are required here. They are the ability to fly or rise in the air, maintain a level without flapping and a limitless capacity to rise above the situation as may be required. It simply means that those who hope in the Lord must be able to rapidly move away from tempting situations, some of which were mentioned earlier, that are associated with the waiting period and must be very stable in their faith during these period. There is no room for doubts during the waiting period as the bible says such a person cannot successfully navigate the waiting period – Jms. 1:6-8. Finally they must be able to increase their faith as the situation gets tougher as it may have to seemingly get worse before getting better and such an individual must be prepared for such eventualities.
iii. He who hopes in the Lord must develop the resilience and tact of a long distance runner. Hoping in the Lord is not a sprint. It is a marathon. All those quick fix solutions should not be expected by one who is hoping on the Lord. With Him a thousand years is like one day (2Pet. 3:8) and His ways are not like the ways of men – Is. 55:8-9. Whoever hopes on him must not look at time but hold on to His promise which He always has the ability to fulfil and will definitely do in due season.
iv. The Prophet Isaiah says one who hopes in the Lord must learn to walk and not be weary. Walking may not be as fast as running but realise that you will need to walk if you have to, during this process of hoping in the Lord and their should be no reason to take a decision to run because you think you have two legs with which you can run. Hoping on the Lord is not about what you have but about what God wants you to deploy, if such an individual does not want to lose everything in the end. Walking may be slow in the eyes of the person waiting but such cannot get tired of walking and so begin to run or worse still stop walking.
As a Christian, no matter what you may be going through, learn to wait on the Lord. The functional word is “learn” because it is a skill that the Christian must acquire during the Christian journey and continue to build on. It is better acquired before it is needed as the period of waiting then becomes less stressful – Eccl. 12:1. The Christian life will always have periods when there will be the need to wait in hope in the Lord, plead with Him today to grant you the ability as He remains the only one that can do it all. He delivers total package to all those who seek Him for such help and is help is limitless. May He grant you the strength to wait and hope in Him in Jesus name. Amen.