Earlier this week, I was sitting on a high, steep hill overlooking Kigali. As I looked down, I noticed an enormous bird circling. (It was probably a Yellow-Billed Kite – for you Bird Nerds.) It was amazing to watch how it circled upward without ever moving its wings. It merely rode the updrafts along the side of the hill. In just a minute, it rose from way below me in the valley, to directly over my head. All without ever looking like it was doing anything.
“I will lift you up on Eagle’s wings” from Isaiah is the verse that immediately popped into my head. And I was shocked at how I’ve heard/read/sung this line thousands of times in my life and never really noted it.
Most birds flap their wings quite a bit. Some – like hummingbirds – have their wings in a state of constant frenzied motion just to stay still. Others – like eagles and kites – use their wings like hang-gliders to catch the winds as they ascend.
There are plenty of other birds mentioned in the Bible, and it’s not like the specific reference to an eagle was an accident. God wasn’t telling the people, “I’ll give you wings – then flap like crazy and you should stay airborne”
“you will soar”
How did I not notice that before? It would seem God is saying he is the one doing the work. Sure, the eagle can pull in his wings and crash to the ground. But it sure is depending on its strength to gain altitude.
The last two verses in Isiah chapter 40 are: Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
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.
Running, walking, and even the soaring – are not passive. They are not easy. However, here God is promising his people if they put their hope in him – they will find strength. They will be able to soar even when all they can do is hold out their wings.
The verses in Isaiah, just before the above verses, are a bit of a wake-up call. Essentially saying – “God is for you, why are you still discontent?”
I invite you to read the following: personalize it. Make it real to you.
Why do you complain, George,? Why do you say, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”?
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
You give me strength when I am weak.
You make me soar.
Yet I complain, I think you have forgotten me.
Forgive me for my lack of belief.
Strengthen my faith in you and your goodness.