By Rev Tan Eng Boo
“But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint”
The New Year is always a challenge for me; I don’t know what the future would be. But I know who holds tomorrow and will walk with confidence and faith in the God of my salvation:
I don't know about tomorrow,
I just live from day to day.
I don't borrow from its sunshine,
For its skies may turn to gray.
I don't worry o'er the future,
For I know what Jesus said,
And today I'll walk beside Him,
For He knows what is ahead.
Many things about tomorrow,
I don't seem to understand;
But I know who holds tomorrow,
And I know who holds my hand.
Ira F. Stanphill
In many of my birding adventures, one of the most amazing sights to behold is an eagle soaring in the sky with its majestic wings open in full view (as seen in the photo above). I see them often in coastal areas around Singapore. The White-bellied Sea Eagle is the largest eagle in Singapore and an expert in catching fish, and there are lessons we can learn from this bird.
The Old Testament prophet Isaiah must have seen eagles soaring about during his time and by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he wrote these words to encourage his readers (2 Peter 1:21). The prophet says: “Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted” (Isaiah 40:30). The Israelites who first received this promise were worn out from their hardship. They had to face the Assyrians and then the Babylonians. Their perspective had been darkened by despairing thoughts: “Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God?” (Isaiah 40:27). They thought God was not able to help or that He didn’t care about them. How wrong were they!
When God’s people become exhausted and discouraged, God is always there for them. You can be assured of that. Although the situation we are in may not be the same as God’s people during Isaiah’s time, I want to encourage you as we enter 2022, God will be there for us.
Even amid the pandemic, God is still in full control of the situation. Let Isaiah 40:31 spur us on to greater heights for the Lord’s work and our own walk with Jesus – to mount up with wings like eagles, and by the grace of God, we will run and not be weary.
Here are three things we can do as we enter the new year:
1. Let’s begin with the effort of “waiting on the Lord”
It is not "waiting something out," but "waiting for the Lord." This is to be done. While we are waiting on the Lord, we need to do something. We have to be active for the Lord. We continue to serve Him.
What is meant by “waiting on the Lord?” This waiting has to do with our hope, our expectation. The implication is that we are waiting and watching with expectation towards what God is going to do. It is waiting for His help; that is, to trust in Him, to put our hope or confidence in Him. When we do, that we will see the outcome of it in due time.
Isaiah said “Our strength will be renewed, we shall mount up with wings like eagles; we shall run and not be weary; we shall walk and not faint.” This is a picture of a weary Christian, someone who has been on the verge of burn-out being renewed and revitalised. We need this reminder to “wait on the Lord.” You may not see instant results or answer to prayers, but you can be sure God is working His plans for your lives one step at a time in 2022.
“…. Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.” (Isaiah 49:23)
What are your plans for 2022? What do you hope to see in this new year? What are some of your fears for this year? Wait on the Lord, don’t rush Him. When King David was in trouble, he was told, “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” (Psalms 27:14 KJV).
2. Let’s have confidence in God as we begin the journey to “wait on the Lord”
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.” (Isaiah 40:28)
This is a very challenging statement for us, to trust in Him as we move into the unknown. God does not faint or grow weary. As Albert Barnes says: “God is not fatigued or exhausted. That God, who has formed and sustained all things, is not exhausted in his powers, but is able still to defend and guard his people.” The God who made all things must be infinitely wise, too. If I “wait on the Lord”, I am going to be like the eagle.
Let us enter 2022 with this confidence. Do not be ignorant of what God can do. Isaiah asked God’s people twice: “Have you not known? Have you not heard?” (Isaiah 40:21, 28). It looks like God’s people are sometimes ignorant of God, or worse still, have not heard when they are supposed to listen to the prophets. Do you know that “the LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth?” That is who my God is!
3. Let’s have faith in God’s Word
It is on the Word of God that our faith stands. Without the Word, I would be most unsure of how I am going to get through 2022. If God says, “wait on Him” I must do so.
“For all the promises of God find their ‘Yes’ in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our ‘Amen’ to God for his glory.” (2 Corinthians 1:20)
God’s promises shall all be certainly fulfilled. If you take God at His Word, He will not fail you. “Many things about tomorrow, I don't seem to understand; But I know who holds tomorrow, And I know who holds my hand.”
C. H. Spurgeon expressed this challenge to faith in an address to ordained ministers and ministerial students:
“Brothers, your failure, if you fail, will begin in your faith. The air says to the eagle, ‘Trust me; spread thy broad wings; I will bear thee up to the sun. Only trust me. Take thy foot from off yon rock which thou canst feel beneath thee. Get away from it, and be buoyed up by the unseen element.’ My brethren, eaglets of heaven, mount aloft, for God invites you. Mount! You have but to trust him.”
A blessed 2022 to all of you.
The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. (Numbers 6:24-26 KJV)