Summary: Isaiah 40 declares that we will win the race because God says we will win - if we wait upon the Lord. That thought can change our lives... but it even has a greater power. Do you know what that is?
OPEN: (I began the sermon by reading the text and then singing a song I wrote back in Bible College that was inspired by the last two verses of the 40th chapter of Isaiah – See Footnote for the words)
When I was about 8 years old, my dad decided to have a running contest between me and my brother Jack (who was 16 at the time). Dad had me run first and as soon as he said “Go” I ran as fast as my 8 year old legs would carry me. As I crossed the “finish line” dad looked at his pocket watch and said “35 seconds!”
Then Jack was up. Dad said “Go” and Jack ran for all he was worth. In fact, he ran so hard that when he crossed the finish line he was totally out of breath and leaned forward with his hands on his knees as he looked up at dad …and dad said: “39 SECONDS!”
In a disgusted tone of voice, Jack said “I KNEW you were going to do that!!!”
Now, who won the race? Well, I DID!!! But did I win because I was stronger or smarter or more fleet of foot? Of course not! I won because Dad was the one with the stopwatch. I was the winner because dad made me the winner!
Hold that thought in your mind. We’ll get back to that.
Isaiah 40 tells us about another contest going on. “Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 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.” Isaiah 40:30-31
This is a powerful passage of scripture. In fact it is so powerful, that that phrase “Wings Of Eagles” has been used for 2 or 3 Hollywood movies, and at least one worship song… not to mention that song I sang at the beginning of the sermon.
But what is it about this set of verses that captures the imagination? What is that draws so many people to it? Well it captures our imagination because it gives us HOPE. It tells us – we can win this race.
What is interesting is that it starts out telling me a truth about life. A truth that I don't particularly want to hear. It tells me “Life Isn’t Easy.” Even youths become faint. Even young men will grow weary and they’ll get exhausted and they’ll fall down.
Jesus echoed this when He said: “… In this world you will have trouble…” John 16:33
In this world we’re going to have trouble!! It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old or rich or poor - things can get tough. There may come a point in your life where you’ll feel like you just can’t go on. If you live long enough… life will get you down you’ll stumble along the path. You’ll fall down and not feel like getting up again. You’ll get hurt, you’ll get sick, your dreams will be trashed, you might lose your job, your home or your car. Frankly life’s just going to be miserable sometimes. And that’s just the way things are because we live in fallen world - a world damaged by sin and selfishness.
Now, when those times come in our lives some folks will tell us to “snap out of it", to be strong, to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps, to grow up and face life. They’ll say “you can handle it.”
And there’s some merit to that. Part of growing up and becoming an adult is taking life seriously and taking responsibility for our own corner of life. But there are times when that just isn’t going to cut it. There will be times when you just CAN’T DO IT anymore!!!
Now, what I find interesting is how God tells us we can fix our problems in life. He starts out talking about how we can grow weary and faint and fall down, and then He says: “… 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.”
When we’re down and hurting, God doesn’t tell us: “snap out of it.” “Grow up.” “Get a life.”
What He tells us “WAIT FOR ME”. Depend upon Me. Lean on Me. Place your hope in Me!!!
Jesus said the same thing: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-30