Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint. (NLT)
There are two unhelpful responses to the challenges of life. One is to surrender to defeatism, to conclude it is all too much and simply give up. The other is to assume some sort of superman pose and imagine we soar serenely above any problems that confront other mere mortals. Our text suggests another way, and it has to do with how eagles fly.
The experts on eagles tell us that these birds are able to fly in challenging conditions because they are able to tilt their wings so as to negotiate the stormy currents of air. It is not as if they just avoid the storms. Rather they adjust to them. They can actually use the buffeting winds to help them fly.
So we are not encouraged to blissfully dismiss the troubles of life, to presume that because we follow Jesus we are somehow immune from them. Or at least we can avoid the pain and grief that is part of human life. We are encouraged to tilt our wings in a way that may not sidestep the storm but will allow us to get through it.
And we do not surrender to despair. We are given God’s own strength to get through. We don’t have to manufacture our own tenacity and power. God gives us his resources. We don’t “tilt our wings” all on our own. Soaring like eagles may not mean a smooth ride, but it may mean a safe destination.