By Dianne Armstrong
Isaiah 40:31, King James Version (KJV)
31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
This has always been one of my favorite Bible verses, not because of its association with the 101st Airborne and war but because of its beautiful words of hope. I would like to focus, though, on one of those words, in some translations, two words. As I see it, at the heart of Isaiah’s exhortation is the word “wait.” In alternative translations to the King James version, that word becomes “trust,” or “hope for” or even “to put our confidence in.” Again, for me, “wait” carries at least two fundamental meanings: to expect, or, “to wait upon,” to serve the Lord. The exiled Jews waited for the Messiah as we await His coming to us in this Lenten time, that is, in expectation of our salvation. But, perhaps we can combine the two meanings by saying that as we wait for the Lord, we can wait upon Him in His service. In so doing, we gain the power of the mythical eagle who renewed its youth and vigor as it moulted. We, like him, shall also be renewed, our strength the vitality the Lord bestows on the faithful, the blessed, the restored. Finally, as one commentator remarks, “In every attitude of the descending climax, mount up—run—walk, the praying, waiting child of God is ‘strong in the Lord’ (Psalms 84:7; Micah 4:5; Hebrews 12:1)” (www.biblestudytools.com). And so we are.