June 8: Isaiah 40

Phil Ryken
I saw them over the forest: two golden eagles, cavorting in the wind.  When I first spied them they were still low enough to identify, and they flapped from time to time in order to stay aloft.

But the eagles were rising.  Drawn upwards by unseen currents of air, they were determined to reach the higher atmosphere and command the surrounding countryside from a grander aspect.  They rose quickly, gaining on the updraft until they were soaring in wide curves.  Effortlessly they rose still higher, until they were only specks in the bright sky.  A passerby would never have noticed them.  To turn one's glance away for a moment was to risk losing them.  

As the eagles rose into the afternoon sky, my heart soared with them.  I sensed their freedom, their power , and their joy.  These birds were exploiting the gift of flight to its fullest potential, and in doing so, they were bringing glory to the God who created them.  

My mind turned, naturally enough, to the end of Isaiah 40: "They who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles."  The ability of an eagle to "mount up" took on fresh significance.  An eagle does not soar by its own energies, but is elevated by rising currents of air.  

So, too, the believer in Christ is carried higher by God the Holy Spirit.  True spiritual progress is never made by human striving, but only by divine enabling.  In our weakness we wait upon the Lord.  We wait for the provision of our needs.  We wait for victory over sin.  We wait for direction in life's decisions.  We wait for the redemption of our bodies--the resurrection of the dead.  

As we wait, the Lord renews our strength.  When we strive in our own strength, we quickly get depleted.  This explains why we are often tired of serving the Lord, and maybe even tired of the Lord himself.  But as we wait on the Lord--spending time in his Word, receiving the sacraments, and going to God in prayer--we are re-energized.  Like eagles on the wing, we mount up until we soar.