Read: Isaiah 40:21-31
Those who hope in the Lord . . . will soar on wings like eagles. (v. 31 NIV)
Hope is the thing with feathers,” Emily Dickinson wrote in what might be her most beloved poem. She makes a bird a metaphor for hope, and goes on to say that hope not only perches in the soul but also “never asked a crumb of me.” Hope doesn’t cost anything, and, most importantly, as both Dickinson and Isaiah note, it can fly.
The NIV uses the word hope in verse 31 in a place where many other translations use the word wait. If we combine the two we see hope as positive waiting. Isaiah promises those who hope in God will not be disappointed. They shall soar on wings like eagles—imagine that!
Isaiah wrote those words while Israel was in exile in Babylon. It would have been incredibly depressing to see the temple and the buildings that housed the government destroyed. Think of an invading army leveling the capital, and then going through the nation and destroying every church. Then imagine this army carting off the best and brightest people in every community and enslaving them in their country. For the first 39 chapters of his book, Isaiah warned the people of the coming destruction. After the worst happened, Isaiah’s message changed to comfort and hope, beginning with chapter 40. One commentator likens Isaiah’s words to a signpost in a fog—just a glimmer of hope in the midst of horrible circumstances. May hope perch in your soul, ready to soar, in every circumstance. —Jeff Munroe
As you pray, thank God that hope soars.
About the Author
Jeff Munroe is the editor of the Reformed Journal and, in addition to being the author of the best-selling book Reading Buechner: Exploring the Work of a Master Memoirist, Novelist, Theologian, and Preacher, is also a poet, blogger, and essayist. His work has appeared in Christianity Today, The Christian Century, US Catholic, and The Reformed Journal.