Many years ago a WWII film was introduced called, “Where Eagles Dare.” The story line was of an allied general being held by the German army on a mountain peak in a stone castle. The castle was only accessible via a cable car, mountain climbing, or a helicopter. It was thought to be impregnable due to its inaccessibility and the troops left to guard the cable car and the base of the mountain.
Though that castle was high, remote and thought to be impregnable, it was never the less, overcome by an elite force of men. These men were no strangers to danger and the rigors of this type of warfare. They had their orders and would seek to fulfill those orders not matter the cost.
Isaiah 40:31 says, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Within this familiar verse, we find five orders given to the Christian that will enable us to succeed where others fail.
“Wait” – Some would interpret this to mean to sit around and do nothing. Nothing could be further from the truth. This instruction involves the idea of hope; looking for something; trust; or an earnest expectation. We do this through meditation (Rev. 1:8, 11; Psalm 1; Heb. 10:23; Phil 1:6), prayer (phil. 4:6; Jms. 5:16), and bringing glory to His name (I Cor. 10:31).
“Renew” – This involves the concept of change, exchange or altering something. For what purpose must we renew our strength, simply to contend for the faith (Eph. 6:11-17). We are engaged in a war and we fight battles every day with temptation and sin. The real question is, are we willing to obey orders no matter what the cost, knowing that victory is assured?
“Mount Up” – Someone has suggested that these wings are the wings of faith and love. The writer of Hebrews tells us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (11:1) And later in the same chapter (11:6), “But without faith it is impossible to please him (God)…” Without these two elements, it is impossible for the child of God to live and demonstrate the truth of the Word.
“Run” – When in high school, it was my privilege to run on the track team. We would begin practices and work outs right after the first of the year in preparation for the spring track season. In those initial weeks, we would all suffer the rigors of soreness and lack of stamina due to our being out of shape. As the weeks would go by, one could begin to notice the changes that were taking place in each of us. We were able to run a little bit further and a little bit faster each week. Before long, after a lot of hard work, we were ready and in shape.
In every race that I have ever been a part of, we would always race toward the finish line. In the Christian life we are running a race. Paul’s encouragement to us is that we stay the course and finish the race (I Cor. 9:24; 15:58; II Tim. 4:7). The race that is referred to here is not salvation, but the rigors of the Christian life itself. In order to finish and to finish well, we must be in “shape.” I recall one physical ed class in which myself and one other track team member were a part. We were required to run a mile around the track. You could hear the moans and groans run through the class. All 35 of us went out to the track and proceeded to run. It was very apparent within the first quarter mile, who was in shape and who wasn’t. Those who are in shape “shall run and not be weary.”
“Walk” – This involves the simple concept of faithfulness and endurance. We all recall the story of the tortoise and the hare. Wm. Carey, once said when asked how he could accomplish so much, “I can plod; that is my only genius. I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything.”
When running the race of the Christian life, we must be careful to not allow distractions to cause us to falter or slacken our pace. Our strength and encouragement can only come from on high.
Pastor Jim Howard
First Baptist Church
233 S. Main St., Cedar Springs