Hope: Week One—Day Five

But those 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 40:31 (NRSV)

This year has felt like a marathon. There has been so much stress, anxiety, bitterness, and obstacles. Nothing has been normal. I feel like if I hear the phrase “uncertain times” one more time I am going to explode. We really need some certain times if you ask me. We need new energy. We need some encouragement.

In Hebrew, the word “wait” can also mean “hope.” We talked about the connection between waiting and hoping in our last devotion. We discussed how God calls us to practice hope with patience and imagination. But this verse introduces another element to hope which God promised to provide: strength.

Waiting can take a lot of energy out of you. Without God’s intervention we can become discouraged or exhausted by the circumstances in which we find ourselves. But God promised if you wait for Him, if you put your hope in Him, He will renew your strength. It is a message of endless endurance and profound support. Isaiah presents us with a heroic image of a runner who never gets tired, and paints us a picture of a majestic bird soaring above all troubles.

This verse reminds me of where we find hope in our Christmas hymns. There’s a line in “O Holy Night” which goes: “A thrill of hope – the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!”

I love the idea that hope is thrilling. There’s an energy and strength behind hope. It feels like electricity animating our very bones.

The hope of God is not a weak and fragile thing. God’s hope is dynamic and strong. It energizes us in the midst of “uncertain times.” It makes us agile enough to overcome the most challenging of obstacles. God’s hope is thrilling and brings joy to all the world.

Maybe this seems unattainable to you. Maybe you are weary from a year of uncertainty. Engage God in conversation. Ask for the strength and thrill of hope this Advent.

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