Sunday, December 30, 2012

When God Lifts You Up


When God Lifts You Up

 

But those who wait on 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 40:31

Birds are one of God’s most varied species.  They are adorned in every color in the spectrum.  They have legs in all sizes and shapes.  Their beaks range from small and short, to long and thin, and even huge like the scoop beak of a pelican.  They can be as tiny as a the Bee Hummingbird, weighing only 1.8 grams, or as large as the Ostrich, which can weigh up to 290 lbs.
God must be pretty proud of His bird species!  His word uses many different ones in analogies as well as events, such as the dove released from the Ark, and the rooster that crowed three times at Peter’s denial of Christ.  Yet, above all other birds, even above the dove, the Eagle appears more in God’s word than any other bird.

The eagle is often used in the Bible to describe God’s deity and care over His people. Exodus 19:4 tells of God saying to the Israelites “how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself.  Deuteronomy 32:11-12 talks about God’s care over Jacob and says, “As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, so the Lord alone led him, and there was no foreign god with him.”
Eagles are amazing birds.  They make their nests in the rocky crags of the mountains, watch over their young until long after they’ve left the nest, and have speeds of up to 50 miles per hour while soaring in flight.  They can have wing spans of up to 8 feet wide. 

We’re all familiar with Isaiah 40:31, which speaks of those that wait upon the Lord to renew their strength, and how they will “mount up with wings like eagles.”  This verse is used to describe those that put their trust in God.  The passage actually begins in verse 27, and says:
“Why do you say, O Jacob,
And speak, O Israel:
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
And my just claim is passed over by my God”?
Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on 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.”


The passage uses Jacob as the subject, but Jacob represents all believers.  The believer begins by feeling as if God has forgotten him (“My way is hidden from the Lord”), and ignored his prayer (“my just claim is passed over by my God”). But then focus is turned to God, who is described as everlasting, creator, never weary, understanding all things, powerful, mighty, and giving.
The message is this: When you give God your burdens, be patient and wait for the answer to your prayer.  He will give you strength to not grow weary in waiting, and He will stay on the job, never sleeping.  He will give you more strength and perseverance than the young.  He will give you the strength of spirit to “mount up on wings like eagles.”

Ah, the eagle!  The eagle is such a graceful bird in flight!  Unlike a goose or a sparrow which continually flaps its wings to stay in flight, the eagle can simply soar, gliding on the wind that God puts under his wings.  He’s not working to stay in flight.  He’s allowing the wind to carry him. 
Sometimes our burdens are indeed too heavy to bear alone.  Friends are great in times like these, but they can’t change the circumstances that reign over your trouble.  They can’t even understand it all.  But God can.  In these times, He is the one refuge for our soul.  He understands and does not grow weary.  He does not ignore our prayers or forget our circumstances.  He says in Hebrews 13:5 “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” The absence of an answer from God is not the absence of His love and care.

When you feel like quitting, like giving up on God, pray.  You can find more strength and more might in Him to endure the wait. You can soar, and allow Him to lift you up.

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