Renewed Strength Through His Word
Written by: Meredith Miller
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But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
- Isaiah 40:31 (NLT)
Today’s verse is one I have always loved. It’s one of those verses that often gets pulled out to help someone else through a tough time. We read this Scripture like a prescription, thinking just knowing it’s words will help us do what it says and soar like eagles.
But when I found myself in the midst of one of the toughest seasons of my life, I realized that using this Scripture like a band-aid wasn’t going to cut it anymore, so I dug into this chapter and found some gorgeous gems of how to put this verse into true practice.
The context of this chapter is that of transition - Isaiah has been spelling out the doom Jerusalem will face because they have turned their backs on God; this chapter begins the switch to their ultimate redemption from exile that beautifully parallels all mankinds’ redemption through Jesus.
In verse 3, Isaiah prophesied the ministry of John the Baptist, who would “prepare the way of the Lord.” He describes how they should do this: make a straight highway in the desert, raise up the valleys, bring low the mountains and hills, smooth out the rough terrain.
When I think about the simple call on our lives to follow Jesus, the path that is created here looks incredibly inviting to me. When I try to run the race on my own path, I will inevitably encounter obstacles and run out of strength quickly. But if I choose the path that Jesus has taken before me, the journey becomes manageable! This is not to say that it will be perfect- Jesus’ life was filled with suffering, persecution, and obstacles. But if we choose this route, we have the perfect leader to follow.
What’s more, Matthew Henry’s Commentary points out that we should also be preparing the way for Jesus in our hearts: let our pride be brought low, make our crooked tempers straight, and smooth out any hindrance. When we choose to run our race on Jesus’ path, not only will it seem easier to endure because Jesus endured it first, but by following His teachings, our hearts are stronger to handle the difficulties of the journey.
Finally, the KJV actually translates the verse, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.” The NLT uses the word “trust” in place of “wait;” the NIV uses the word “hope.”
The Hebrew word for all three of these translations is qavah. It’s simple definition is “waiting.” It’s verb form is active and continuous, and that -ing ending reminds us that the subject is always in the act of doing it. Our society hates to wait because we think nothing is happening, but this definition completely contradicts that: waiting is active! It requires decision, perseverance, and those other two words: hope and trust.
When we hope and trust in the Lord while we wait, we are confident that He will come through when we face trials. Waiting doesn’t mean we have to stand still - we are always moving forward in our journey with Jesus even when we’re waiting for Him to rescue us from the struggles. And what is so astounding to me about this passage is that it says those who wait on the Lord will be the ones to renew their strength. The wait is what gives them the renewal! If you’ve been waiting for something for a long time, take heart: The longer you wait, the more your strength will be renewed to help you endure that wait. It’s a cycle that will ensure that you never grow weary, as God doesn’t grow weary either (verse 28).
So where do we go to get this renewal of strength while we wait, hope, and trust God? His Word. It is what will carry us through this race. So follow the path of Jesus, set your heart on His Word, and find the renewal of your strength to finally soar like an eagle through trials and triumphs.
1. What do you need to do today to begin walking the path that follows Jesus’ footsteps to endure your race?
2. What have you grown weary of waiting for? How can you seek God’s strength to replace your own to find renewal?
Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus to walk the path of trials ahead of us and for giving us such a perfect leader to follow as we run our own races. Help us to wait on You in order to renew our strength so that we can continue to endure the trials that mark our journeys. We know only You can provide us strength that will allow us to soar like eagles. In Your Son’s Precious Name, Amen.