Besides the mild stress of those adjustments, other more serious stresses and changes have me feeling exhausted. One morning this week, after eight hours sleep I dozed off about two hours after getting up. Right now, I feel as if I could go to bed and sleep another eight hours.
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for 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 40:30–31)
This passage is a favorite. Renewal appeals to me. I also discovered that the word "renew" rendered literally is "change" — they shall change their strength. This word was used to signify a change of garments. With that thought, those who are weary shall lay aside their strength and put on, as a garment, strength from God.
These verses are in a section of Isaiah where the prophet contrasts human frailty and feebleness with the strength and greatness of God. Most people are not interested in relying on God’s strength though; we assume that we can do things ourselves, without help, even without God’s help.
It delights me to see some Olympic athletes credit God for their abilities. One runner crossed the finish line looking up and saying, “Thank You, Jesus.” Yet is that the kind of renewal and strength this verse talks about? Or is changed strength more about living powerfully and overcoming sin, with Isaiah using these words to create a vivid image so we can picture it?
For me, the power of God is vital for Christian living. I cannot overcome sin or do anything apart from Jesus Christ. Just as He says in John 15, I must abide in Him as a branch attached to the tree so I can live and produce fruit. I must also constantly battle self-strength so that God may clothe me with His own strength. This means waiting on the Lord, admitting my weakness and letting Him clothe me with His strength, a change indeed.
The picture of eagles could refer to many things. One writer thinks it is about height of flight above the storms, plus the ability to stay still without restlessness. He says that no Christian can come into God's best who does not learn to walk alone with God. I agree.
However, these descriptions of renewed strength seem out of reach today. All I know is that I feel helpless against the stresses of life, both small and large, and unable to run or soar, walk or change. If my faintness is to be renewed, then it is entirely up to my Savior to make it happen.
Lord, waiting on You does mean being still and spending time in that lofty place of Your presence. Today, it seems as if I am too tired to even think. While I know You can give me Your strength, it would suit me just fine if You would transform some of the heavier pressures into blessings rather than burdens and give me a respite from the stress. In any case, I wait on You, the only One who knows what is best; fixing the problems or giving me wings to fly above them.