They who wait on 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
I love the verse! It has to be one of my all-time favorite verses. When I was younger it was because it talked about eagles and I love eagles, plus whenever you saw an eagle at a Christian Book Store this verse was almost always tied to it. Then there is the promise of having your strength renewed and being able to ‘fly’ with wings like an eagle. We all know that eagles are big powerful creatures. They are most certainly one of God’s most dominant creatures in the sky. Instead of flying through storms and getting blown off course, an eagle has the ability to fly safely above most storms where the air is calmer. They have incredible hunting skills too. They are able to see a mouse in a field from an unbelievable distance and then dive down and scoop it up before the mouse even knew what was happening. They are also one of the most if not the most majestic of all the birds in the air. Yes I can definitely see why the eagle was chosen as a reference for this passage.
I used to think that this verse simply meant to “wait for the Lord to renew my strength when I was tired and weary,” in re-reading the verse and through prayer I have noticed that it says ‘They who wait on the Lord’ not ‘They who wait for the Lord’. So what’s the difference between “on” and “for” the Lord? A lot. When you wait for something basically means that you are being passive. You are waiting for something to be done to or for you, the focus is on yourself. In contrast though, the term to wait on something or someone suggests action. Waiting on someone or something is more of a service orientated term; the focus is no longer inward but outward. You could almost read the above verse as “They who serve the Lord shall renew their strength.”
He is not renewing our strength for our own purposes; He is renewing our strength for His purpose so that we can serve Him. Serving others is how we serve God. Offering a helping hand, calling on a friend, helping the homeless, helping out at a retirement home or even just being nice to someone you don’t know. Serving (or waiting on) others can happen at any time or any place, it doesn’t have to be a planned event, it could be as simple as giving someone a cold drink on a hot day. Jesus said “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:35-40) So you don’t have to go out of your way to “wait on the Lord” just go and do it. –E.C.