I feel the Lord has been speaking the word RENEW over my family and I, so Isaiah 40:31 has fittingly been my theme verse in this season of transition.
Isaiah 40:31 New International Version (NIV)
31 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.
I have heard this verse many times and it has always had that inspirational vibe to it with the whole flying eagle visual soaring above the clouds like superman after a successful mission, but I do not think it has ever really been clear to me until now. This verse while super inspirational is not meant to pump us up like a Tony Robbins seminar where we summon our inner strength, but is meant to remind us of where our strength actually comes from, the Lord. In this day and age filled with instant lattes, drive-thrus, and youtube gurus who demand that we "act now!" The fact is that just staying busy does not always mean you are doing what God has called you to do. Sometimes as this verse states, we must "wait on the Lord." What do you mean wait??! We want it now and we want it customized to our liking and preference. Seriously, how are we supposed to get anything done if we are just waiting? Wait for it..........This next bit, is really where God revealed something special to me.
I always thought this verse meant that if I prayed and waited or hoped in the Lord He would simply refresh me...kind of like when I would have to a play a double-header in baseball and in between games we would rest or wait a few minutes to regain some of our energy that had already been spent on the game before. This is not what I believe the main point God is communicating in this scripture.
The phrase RENEW THEIR STRENGTH in Hebrew is ya·ḥă·lî·p̄ū. The only reason I knew that is because I looked it up. :) This phrase literally means to GAIN NEW strength. This means this is a strength that was not present before. It is not simply a refreshing, but a completely brand NEW shiny strength from God. I believe this is part of the sanctification process that we go through as believers, or some might call this a maturing in the Lord. As we wait and hope in Him we are physically given NEW strength from him. This totally throws out the window this self-promoting idea that is so prevalent in our world today that we have this ability within our self to rise above and conquer if we just try hard enough. While we may be able to try and do things in our own strength, we will surely grow weary after a time.
I recently was talking to young man who, through a series of unfortunate events, ended up on the streets, and he shared candidly how he was trying so hard to take his life and point it in the right direction so he could take care of his two boys. He just felt like everything he did ended up in failure, and he was growing so tired. I was able to encourage him that if he would rely on Christ fully, and be patient that this would be the only way he could walk and not grow weary and get on the right path for the sake of his family. So often, we think if we can just grind harder, work our fingers to the bone, put in 80 hour work weeks, that we will find satisfaction, but according to God's word, it is in the waiting, the surrendering of our life where we find the path to ultimate freedom. It is not the eagle's strength, but a beautiful combination of it's willingness to be still, and let the the wind (God's Strength) beneath it's wings carry it to new heights above the clouds.
So, as God has been giving this new strength to my family and I, I pray that you would also be RENEWED, given new strength, in the waiting and feel the wind of His presence taking you to places you never thought possible.