“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 40:31
Many of us are no stranger to the comforting words of Isaiah 40:31. We use them at graduations or to encourage our weary friends and family. What we may not fully realize is what the Jewish people would have understood when Isaiah wrote to them of soaring on eagle’s wings. In this season of Israel’s history, there was unrest with local kingdoms and captivity and invasion remained constant possibilities. In the midst of this fear, the Lord used this powerful analogy to remind His people to have hope. So what does it look like to soar like eagles?
1. Practice the art of waiting
Waiting is an art seen throughout Scripture. The Lord is not slow (2 Peter 3:9). His timing is perfect. But we struggle to wait well, especially when all we see is chaos on the horizon. Isaiah 40:31 was a reminder that believers who are patient and persistent as they wait on God are given supernatural strength in the midst of trials. They will develop the ability to rise above.
2. Trust in God’s sovereignty
There is another element involved in waiting and hoping. Trust. We can’t just wait on the Lord, we have to trust in His sovereignty over our circumstance and the bigger picture we can’t see, and we have to approach Him with utter dependence. In early Hebrew culture, God used eagle’s wings to signify deliverance (Exodus 19:4). In Deuteronomy 32:10-11 we see the eagle as a guard, shield, deliverer, and provider for their young. By using the picture of an eagle in Isaiah, God is reminding His people that He is the same God who delivered them from captivity. He is their deliverer and provider and will provide a way for them to have strength in the midst of trial.
3. Never lose hope
Not only is the eagle a picture of deliverance and safety, but this creature is a picture of courage, majesty, and power to soar above the storms. Isaiah is reminding God’s people that they are more than overcomers. When our hope is rightly placed and we are waiting on the Lord and trusting His sovereignty, we do not lose hope, we don’t grow weary, and we are given the strength to rise above.
The eagle in this passage is a warrior, an overcomer, a picture of the believer who firmly plants themselves in the Father in the midst of uncertainty. Our trust builds hope which yields strength which yields the ability to overcome. We can then soar above our circumstances and grow our trust in the Lord for the next step in our journey.