Over the past couple of days we have been considering the promise that we read in Isaiah 40:31, that those who ‘wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength’, and in that verse we are given the beautiful picture of the eagle mounting up on outstretched wings, in effortless flight, ‘they will soar on wings like eagles’. I love seeing the footage of these magnificent birds on wild life films, while in our context here, we see the buzzards doing the same thing. They can catch a thermal and sometimes soar right out of sight to the naked eye, without even flapping a wing, it’s that easy.
We have been talking about the fact that thanksgiving can help us to slow ourselves down and in this context the NASB translation, ‘those who wait for the Lord’, conveys something important for us. These amazing birds, eagles or buzzards rise up as they spread their wings because they have waited for the thermal which will carry them upwards. They do rise up on their wings but that is because their wings act like sails and trap the power of the rising heat of the thermal underneath them, and you can see them circling around searching for where that thermal is rising up.
For us, I believe the thermal has got to be the Lord’s love and presence with us. When we are weary and have no strength, it’s time for us to spread our wings and catch the thermals of His love and His Spirit. Thanksgiving, as we said yesterday, will help us to focus on His goodness and will block those ‘weary making’ thoughts of discouragement and disappointment and now, in addition to that, we are talking about the ‘lift’ in our spirit that the Holy Spirit will give us as we turn to the Lord with gratitude in our hearts. This now becomes supernatural and we find ourselves ‘soaring in my spirit like a dove’ to quote the line from Dave Haddon’s song –‘Living under the shadow of His wing’.
One other piece of information about the eagle which is relevant for us is this. When the eagle soars it will apparently keep its eyes on the sun and, should the eagle espy or sense some turbulence ahead, it will rise higher and soar above the turbulence as it focuses on the sun. The lesson for us I’m sure does not need spelling out. Our sun is of course ‘The Son’, and keeping our eyes on Him will help us rise in our spirits, above those adverse circumstances that wear us down.
So thanksgiving enables us to ‘wait for’ the Lord, for the thermals of His love. It enables us, as we take a little time thinking and meditating on His goodness, to spread our wings and catch those thermals. Thanksgiving not only keeps our eyes on Him and our hearts open to Him, in faith and expectancy, but it also releases the Holy Spirit too. When the Holy Spirit sees our gratitude, He rushes in to do what He loves to do; to ‘shed abroad the love of God in our hearts’ Romans 5:5, in even greater measure.
So if we too want to – ‘run and not grow weary’, and ‘walk and not faint’ – on our journey through life with the Lord, ‘thanksgiving’ is the key. It slows us down, causes us to ‘gaze on Him’ and draws the Holy Spirit, our alongside helper and strengthener, to our aid faster than anything else, because He loves to be around us when we are grateful. We will find ourselves rising up, as if on those eagles wings, and our strength renewed as we soar.