“To whom will you compare Me? Or who is My equal?” says the Holy One. Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, “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. 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. Isaiah 40:25-31
The last verse of this passage from Isaiah 40 is a favorite for believers. I know this because I have received many greeting cards with this verse adorning them over the course of my time as a believer. “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.” I have seen it gracing plaques, pictures, blankets, pillows, night-lights and stationery at Christian bookstores all over the place. These usually have a lovely image of a soaring eagle along with the verse. I’m telling you, it’s a favorite!
However, with the abundance of displays of Isaiah 40:31, I do not find a corresponding abundance of soaring believers. I do know those who genuinely hope in the Lord and find their strength renewed, who run and do not grow weary, who walk unfainting through whatever comes their way. But they are not as numerous as the pillows and greeting cards. Why is this?
To begin with, there is a cause-and-effect relationship stated in this verse: those who hope in the Lord are those who experience His renewing power. Additionally, His renewing power is manifest as strength for pressing on in the face of circumstances that would otherwise leave them weakened, weary and fainting. In the midst of these circumstances, they continue to hope in the Lord.
To hope means to cherish a desire with expectation; to place confidence or trust in someone or something. Expectation, confidence, trust. These are very active words. They may not always involve physical movement, but they represent a very powerful motive to all decisions and actions. Hope dictates what we do and do not do.
Please note, though, that hope has to have an object. We cannot cherish a desire with expectation in wishful thinking. We cannot place confidence or trust in a vague thought. If we do not have a clear knowledge of who or what the object of hope is, hope will quickly evaporate as soon as circumstances become hard. We will become weakened, weary and faint.
I encourage you, at this point, to reread the complete passage I began this article with. Better yet, read all of Isaiah 40. There we find the exhortation to remember the object of our hope.”The Lord is the Everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.” We need to know who our God is in order to hope in Him. The more we hope in Him, the better we will know Him. Complaining and discouragement are sure indicators that we do not know and do not hope in God. But we are invited to do both and experience His renewing power. Come to God and know Him. He is our hope.