Hope and Soar With the Lord
Fly High with the Lord
Isaiah 40 is one of my favourite scripture passages. Verse 25 starts with the call to lift up our eyes on high. When I heard this being read from the pulpit today it was amazing. I could feel God calling us to lift our eyes from our selves, from self-pity, pride, jealousy, fear and whatever that may inhibit us and to lift our eyes up, away from ourselves to the Creator of our very souls. To the one who gave us the gift of life. When we lift up our eyes, and see the majesty and beauty of God then our hearts will follow. That is how we receive true joy!
What is it that we see when we lift up our eyes on earth? Do we see the majestic sun which gives us warmth, light and even guides our way. How much more does our Heavenly Father give us warmth in our heart and life, light in the midst of our darkest moments and guides us when we seek Him with faith?
Or do we lift up our eyes at night and see the twinkling of the stars or the bright shining of the moon. God has given us so many delights on this earth that twinkle in our lives. Do we thank him for the delight of the flower blowing in the wind or the roar of the ocean as it soothes our pain or the delight of a friend's caring when they take the time to be with us and listen to our concerns?
Then it says that our loving God leads out the army, numbering them and calling all by name. Can you imagine a General knowing every soldier's name and numbering each because they are precious and even indispensable? Well God is infinitely greater than a General! His love is thus infinitely greater! This small piece of scripture reveals so much about the loving nature of God. He cares so much for you. He loves you infinitely!
This awesomeness of God is emphasised in the next verse: "By his great might and the strength of his power not one of them is missing".
Are You Drowning in Your Troubles?
One may find themselves in a what seems like an ocean of problems. Maybe its just one problem that gives you the feeling that you are way over our head and about to drown. Maybe you are going through such a problem right now. You might even think that your destiny is hidden as verse 29 has God questioning. I don't believe that one's destiny is hidden if God wants us to know it. He longs to show us. When it comes to one's vocation God definitely wants us to know what He calls us to. Are we bold enough to ask God what His will is for us? Do we constantly consult Him on what He wants for us? Or are we too proud that we think we can do it on our own.
I often see people going through great struggles when they seek things their way rather than God's way. I believe that while the struggles may remain in life, we can still have joy amidst the greatest struggles as James tell us that we should consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because testing of faith develops perseverance which results in being mature, complete and lacking nothing (see James 1:2-4).
I remember preaching this very verse to Singles For Christ (SFC) members in Manila, Philippines. I even said rather prophetically that this includes someone close to us dying. I never knew that my dear brother, Stephen, had suddenly died that weekend and that my family were trying to get a hold of me.
It's not that we are dancing when someone close to us dies. The sudden death of my brother left me reeling in shock. It was like a knife going into my heart! The hardest part was knowing I would never see him on earth again. God gives us the strength to first grieve and to even know with faith where that person resides, including the faith that our prayers for God's mercy will be heard. I knew without a doubt that Stephen was in heaven.
The Hope of the Lord is Your Strength
Verse 30 tells us that the Creator of the ends of the earth gives strength to the weary and for those who are weak he makes vigour abound. This is where we have the duty to pray for the weak. We should not despise the weak, but pray for them and where we can help them. Scripture also tells us that we should always give to someone who begs from us. It doesn't say that we should or shouldn't give them money, so we can give a beggar money, or food. What is demanded of us is our time. Do we take the time to treat the beggar with the dignity that they deserve? Do we even dare hold a conversation with them? Or do we reluctantly dig into our pocket to give them the bare minimal? Try blessing a beggar by taking the time to get them some food and even talk to them. Remember how scripture says it is in giving that we receive.
The next verse (32) is what the above picture is all about. It speaks of young men struggling through weariness and youths (men and women) staggering and falling. They may be falling due to focusing on their own strength and maybe they are falling because they have been tempted to sin. But God offers tremendous hope! He offers a way out! Verse 33 says, "They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles' wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint."
Are you wanting to soar with God? Then put your full trust and hope in Him. He will not disappoint you because He loves you personally and infinitely.