I spent the weekend in Alberta speaking at a retreat for the Parkland Zone Lutheran Women’s Missionary League. They’d chosen “SOAR!”— one of my favorite packages—as their theme. “SOAR!” is based on Isaiah 40:27-31.
“O Israel, how can you say the LORD does not see your troubles? How can you say God refuses to hear your case? Have you never heard of understood? Don’t you know that the LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth? He never grows faint or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up. But those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (NLT)
Sometimes we soar like a mighty eagle. On other occasions, when we’re frightened, when we’ve been hurt, or when worry weighs us down, we resemble a little bird with a broken wing. We can barely limp along the ground let alone take off and rise to catch the wind beneath our wings.
Here are three encouragements this passage offers when we feel like the little bird.
- God sees us and hears our cries for help.
Hagar could certainly relate to the little bird analogy. She’d run away from Abram’s household to escape Sarai’s abuse. Now she sat by a stream along the road, exhausted in every way. That’s when the angel of the Lord showed up, gave her direction, and reassured her with a promise. That must have been someencounter. It gave Hagar the courage to return to Abram’s household and stay there for more than 15 years.
Did you know that Hagar is the only woman in the Bible who gave God a name based on her experience with Him? She referred to Him as, “the God who sees.” Life-giving hope infused her when she began living from the truth that God was watching out for her. (Genesis 16)
If you feel like the little bird today, know that God sees you. You are not alone. Invite Him to meet you at your deepest point of need and to reveal Himself to you in this place.
- God offers strength to the weak.
His strength is limitless, and He offers to share from His supply. I visualize His outstretched hands, and I imagine Him saying, “You need strength for today? Here it is. Take it. It’s yours.”
Problem is, sometimes we don’t want to acknowledge weakness because we think doing so makes us appear inadequate. We choose to remain grounded for the sake of saving face. Go figure.
Pride weighs us down and keeps us from soaring. The moment we confess it and exchange it for humility—acknowledging our need for God’s strength—everything changes.
Have you accepted God’s offer to live from His infinite supply of strength? Or are you insisting on using your own even though it’s not enough to help you rise above your circumstances?
- God gives new strength to those who wait on Him.
The word “wait” carries the connotation of being entwined with God. It’s the picture of intimacy with Him.
When we make our relationship with God a priority, He promises to give us new strength. We might face a new challenge, but rest assured we’ll never have to muster whatever tidbits of strength remain from the previous one. The fresh supply is filled to the brim. It’s enough.
God created us to soar. We do so when we live from His perfect and limitless strength rather than our own. In whose strength are you doing life, my friend?
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