The Old Testament Lesson for yesterday was from Isaiah 40:21-31 that concludes with..."They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles." That image of an eagle being high up on a mountain or hill with the wind lifting it up so that it can soar high above the landscape brings us comfort, relief, and hope in times of distress. We often feel like every creature that crawls on the ground rather than anything that can soar above the earth. We are often weighted down by life's struggles and we don't know where to find help when we feel depressed and disillusioned.
The story behind Isaiah 40 is one of good news being given to people who were oppressed. The people called Israel were being held in captivity by their oppressors, the Babylonians. Those who had been taken into captivity were not the same ones who would leave because time had passed and the one's receiving Isaiah's message were a new generation. They needed to be reminded of who Yahweh was and how their struggle was still important to God. The message of hope to them was that as they lived into the hope that they could have in God, they would receive strength for their journey.
The word "wait" in verse 31 of Isaiah 40 is an active verb. It is not simply sitting and waiting for God to act but it is waiting with hope and anticipation of what God may do on our behalf. It is hopeful trust that God will work out all things for our good and as we put our trust in God we receive renewed energy to give us strength.
A number of years ago there was a popular song called "Wind Beneath My Wings". It was sung from one person to another telling them that they were the one who gave them strength in their time of need. The strength they gave was compared to wind beneath the wings of a bird so that the bird could soar high above the troubles of life. The song was very inspirational and touched many who heard it because they could think about people in their lives who had blessed them in many ways. The message from Isaiah is the message of this song, also. God is the wind beneath the wings of those who seek God's strength. God will lift them up so that their energy will be renewed and their spirit will be revived. When they think they cannot go on one day longer, they will find strength from a miraculous source.