Action in Waiting

Reading Time: 5 Minutes

The last verse of Isaiah 40 has been the inspiration for songs, greeting cards, and pictures.

When people ask me to read the verse for a special occasion, they may not know the Scripture location, but they often can quote at least a phrase or two from it.

Those 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 40.31)

The encouraging image of running and soaring with eagles begins with waiting. As we all know, it is often quite difficult to wait.

A Long Wait

I went to college at an age when books were free. Each student received a list of required books, went to the school library, and checked out their free books.

During my first semester in college, I stood in the library line for an hour, which was after previously standing in other long lines. As I neared the entrance to the library, someone came to us and said, “We’re cutting off the line here. The rest of you will have to come back tomorrow.”

Needless to say, those of us who were behind the cut-off point was not happy.

Our long wait for books was nothing in comparison with the Hebrews who were enslaved in Egypt for generations. The wait was long for them during the Babylonian Exile and the terrors of the Holocaust.

The common response to waiting is to complain. This was the situation with both Israel and Judah. Complaining would not change their situation, but the Lament Psalms are filled with complaints.

They needed to change their language of complaint to a language of commitment. Isaiah confronted their complaints with logic that arose from his deep relationship with God.

Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?
(Isaiah 40.27)

While we wait for the justice that we are due, it may seem that God either doesn’t know what is happening or doesn’t care.

One man said it for multitudes of suffering people, “If this is the way God treats his friends, I’m not so sure I want to be one.”

The problem of pain is very real and suffering people often allow their suffering to influence what they believe about God.

Isaiah’s message to a suffering people is to declare God’s message of comfort.

Comfort, O comfort my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem . . .
(Isaiah 40.1-2)

God’s Message to the Weak

God had a message for the people who had been beaten down by life. The God who loves and cares for people can strengthen the weak and powerless.

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
(Isaiah 40.28-29)

Every person, even the strongest among us, will eventually wear down. However, people who trust God will also be strengthened by him.

Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;

But those 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)

Some of the most dynamic missionaries I know are women. They travel to harsh environments and live in stressful cultures. At times, they are faced with hostile opponents.

Their lack of physical power is made up by the power of God that flows through them. I have often told these female missionaries that I believe that they can accomplish more than a male in a similar circumstance.

I am now thinking of a mother, who was a caregiver to a disabled daughter. I marveled at how the mother could move her daughter in and out of a car, seeing that they were both the same size.

God gave her the power to do what a mother’s love deemed necessary.

When we are tired of waiting for God to change our situation, it is not time to complain but to deepen our commitment to God. His promise to us is to give us the power to endure or overcome.

About This Blog

Rudy Ross is an excellent student of Isaiah. Rudy and I have a video you can see on the Bob Spradling YouTube Chanel.

Rudy will bring a different dimension to Isaiah than what is in my blog. I hope you will check out and enjoy my interviews with him.

I am indebted to a book by Dr. John Oswalt on Isaiah for his insights into this powerful book.

If you have a prayer request, please email me at bsprad49@gmail.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood Baptist prayer team will pray for you.

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