Carried like Lambs and Soaring like Eagles

Bible Reading: Isaiah 40; 41:1-10

"He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young" (40:11).

I feel warm and safe when I picture the Lord, my shepherd, gathering me up in his arms and carrying me close to his heart like I used to hold my little children. I find it encouraging that he gives special attention to mothers, leading them gently as they care for their little ones! It's like an extra measure of protection and guidance so that we'll be able to provide a safe and loving environment for our children.

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 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 be faint" (40:28-31).

When I lose sight of the hope I can find only in the Lord, I feel weary and weak; I stumble and fall. I ask the Lord to give me the strength to keep going. As I turn my focus on him, I am able to hope again in the Lord and rejoice in his presence in my life. As his strength becomes my own, he enables me to walk, run - even soar - with renewed energy and enthusiasm. To soar on wings like eagles, I need only stretch out the wings of my faith and let the wind of the Holy Spirit lift me and carry me above my problems. As I ascend and glide effortlessly on the power of the wind, my problems appear smaller and smaller and I rejoice in the exhilaration of the ride. I share the joy of the flight with those who would also mount up with wings of faith; together we dance with the wind.

I wonder if there is any significance to the order given: soar, run, walk. It seems backwards to me. Wouldn't you start out walking, then run, and then take flight? Yet, as I think back on the times when I have "soared," they were times when I was lifted out of despair and given flight above my circumstances. From a higher viewpoint, I was able to see my problems in a different perspective and gain a better understanding of the total picture. Then, when I "touched down," back in the middle of dealing with my circumstances, I had momentum to run the race without growing weary; God provided endurance and courage to continue walking in the path laid out before me. I was more aware of God's presence as he walked beside me, helping me and holding me steady. "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (41:10).