“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 grow faint.” – Isaiah 40:31
The Lord highlighted this verse to me at the beginning of the year–particularly the word “soar.” Although it is a familiar verse, I knew He was inviting me into a new depth of understanding. Little did I know just how precious these words would become throughout the course of the year.
Have you ever experienced God doing something in your heart that was incredibly difficult to put into words? That was this year. Many have been talking about what a difficult year 2016 has been. I don’t ever want to minimize anyone else’s very real pain or difficulty, but 2016 has been one of my very best years ever.
Have I had a year free from pain and difficulty and disappointment? Um, no. Have I seen the fulfillment of long held dreams and promises? Not really. Have things made sense and fallen neatly into place? Heck no!!
But have I been able to see the year from His perspective?
Far more often than not, yes. And that is a miracle worth celebrating.
Trust me, I’ve had my moments of looking down at the wind and waves rather than up into the eyes of my Beloved. But that’s just it–they’ve been moments. Despite a zillion and one temptations to look at the circumstances instead of Him, I haven’t lived there.
Instead, I’ve lived in His embrace. I’ve lived in the reality of being adored and highly favored by the King of kings. I’ve lived secure in my identity as His daughter. I’ve lived in a place of rest. I’ve lived a place free from striving–a place of surrendering my anxiety and trading it for His peace.
I’ve lived in a place of hope.
I’ve discovered that when you don’t carry the weight of the world on your shoulders (including your own world), your spirit really is free to soar.
The irony is that “soaring”–like most things in life–hasn’t looked like I would have imagined. The not-so-good days of this year have probably been some of the most challenging ever–at least from a perspective of holding on to faith and not losing heart. There was definitely a significant spiritual battle raging–for me and for many others. I knew my only real “job” this past year was to stand and to believe. Really, my part was to trust. My part was to receive His strength. Renewed strength. Strength to not grow weary. Strength to walk again. Strength to run again.
Strength to soar.
There are only a small handful of people who understand what a miracle of faith this year has been for me. Even those few who are closest to me probably don’t see it fully (just as I don’t fully see or understand anyone else’s journey), but He knows. And I know–-somewhere deep in my knower, in a place that defies words–I’ll never be the same.
That’s a good thing.
He flipped a switch somewhere (I think it actually started a few years ago here). He flipped a faith switch. And that is what the year has been about for me–faith. Rising up on new wings of faith. Not because everything worked out so marvelously well, but because I was able to (mostly) rest in a place of faith in the midst of circumstances that can only be described as significantly, and cumulatively, perplexing.
I’ve always felt like I had to be able to explain the “perplexing” stuff away. Like somehow I had to defend myself or God when things didn’t seem to make sense. But I don’t feel that need any more. Honestly, I don’t have the energy to try to make things make sense even if I wanted to! Consequently, I haven’t felt the need to prove myself at all.
Instead I’ll just keep proving Him.
It works better that way. He is faithful. Incredibly, amazingly, perfectly–faithful. However things do, or do not, play out on this end, His faithfulness will never be called into question. So I’m letting go. I’m surrendering my confusion. I’m hoping in Him–just Him. I’m gaining new strength. I’m rising up on new winds of faith…
And soaring on the wings of an eagle.
As I write this, I’m praying for you. I’m praying that regardless of how you feel 2016 went, 2017 will be an amazing year of faith and adventure. I’m praying that wherever you’re at right now, hope will arise on new winds of faith. I’m praying that in 2017, together, the Body of Christ will soar to new heights!
Because “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 grow faint.”
I was up at Bethel Church in Redding a few weeks ago and this song spoke deeply to my heart. I don’t think it’s recorded yet (at least I haven’t been able to find it anywhere), but here is a YouTube link. It’s a little long, but WELL worth the time!