How Do I Rise Like an Eagle?

If you’ve graduated high school, do you remember your class colors or motto? I remember our colors, but, sadly, not our motto. I DO remember our class verse, which we also picked out at a Christian school:

“But those who wait for the LORD [who expect, look for, and hope in Him) will gain new strength and renew their power. They will lift up their wings [and rise up] like eagles [rising toward the sun]. They will run and not become weary. They will walk and not grow tired.”

Isaiah 40:31 AB

This sounds really nice, doesn’t it…but what does it look like in our lives…for real?!? Does it mean that we’re not really “waiting on the LORD,” if we’re plum exhausted? Will we never get tired or weary?


I heard a sermon the other day by Dr. James Merritt that really blessed me (a link to the full sermon is available at the end of this post, if you have time and want to consume it all*)! It opened my eyes to so much within the last verses of Isaiah 40, but I’m just going to settle in on Verse 31 with you, for now.

Here are some things that stood out to me:

  • Dr. Merritt explained that “waiting on” the LORD isn’t sitting around, doing nothing. My brother was a waiter at an early point in his resume. I can tell you, for certain, that he didn’t sit around! He was active, serving his customers…and when he wasn’t serving his tables of customers, he was attending his fellow servers, helping them out with their large tables, etc. The same is with us; when we “wait on the LORD,” we keep serving Him. We’re active in what we know He wants us to be doing, even though we may not be given the answer yet for what were going to do. We don’t go far; we keep checking in to see what else He wants for us…to know our next step.
  • When we keep checking in with the LORD and actively serve Him, we’ll gain power through the Holy Spirit. The Greek word for “renew” in this verse means to change garments for better ones. I love this! We take off our ability and put on His! His ability is what enables us to complete what He asks of us! It’s up to us to make this “garment” change…to keep checking in; to keep serving Him; to trust His ability, rather than our own.

“‘but you will receive power, when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and as far as the remotest part of the earth.’”

Acts 1:8 NASB
  • Did you know that all birds try to quickly get away from a storm…all birds except the eagle?!? I didn’t until Dr. Merritt mentioned this in his sermon. Apparently, the eagle flies into the winds of a storm, “using the storm current to rise higher quickly. The pressure of the storm is used to help them glide without using their energy, as their wings’ unique design allows them to lock in a fixed position amid the violent storm winds.1 Does your mouth drop, too, when you read that?!? How intentional God is in His design of creation! What a beautiful visual this gives us for how He wants us to live!…Throughout Scripture, the word “Spirit” also means “wind!” We don’t have to run from our storm! We can head right into it; fix our hearts and minds on Him; and use the storm to catapult us closer to God, as His Spirit enables us to soar!
  • If we’re exhausted, we need to ask this: “Am I 1) riding the storm, locked into a fixed position, being moved purely by the Spirit, 2) running away from the storm, or 3) trying to fight the storm in my own strength?” If we’re exhausted, my guess is that our answer isn’t the first one. We may be exerting much energy…maybe, for a long time…with reduced or limited results. If we’re weary, it’s likely we’re running from the storm or are trying to find our own way in it…in our own power.
  • In using the storm’s current to rise high quickly, the eagle finds itself rising out and above the storm. It doesn’t mean the storm’s no longer there; the eagle’s just found safety.

1 Holbrook, Patricia. “Learn from the Eagle: The Challenger of the Storms.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2 Aug 2019,,amid%20the%20violent%20storm%20winds.

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