But they that wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary…
We find here the true order of experience in life.
1. First comes the "flying" stage. The period of fresh, wild enthusiasms; the season of zeal without discretion, when all sorts of impossibilities are dreamed, all sorts of vain things attempted. This mood comes at the beginning, and not at the end of our career. It is in the period of youth that we have our ambitious dreams, and take our higher flights. Thank God for the flying stage while it lasts, for we do get visions in those flights that abide with us long after our wings have dropped off, and we have learned that the ether is not our element; visions whose memory helps to cheer us as hereafter we trudge along the monotonous and dusty ways of life's hard routine. Youth is full of impulses, full of excesses, full of exaggerations. Let us not be impatient of them. It is a grand thing that there is one time in our lives when we have wings. Too soon the wings, like those of Icarus, melt, and we drop to mother earth again. Too soon a hard and cynical world converts our ingenuous confidence into self-mistrust. In religious experience youth is the time of wings. Its faith is romantic, the thrill of its devotion is exquisite. The spiritual is so real. God is so near. Doubt seems so impossible, and elements of character are forming then that we should be poor indeed without in future time. But the period comes when these youthful impulsions give place to the more restrained and disciplined energies of life, like those of the runner who has trained himself to maintain his pace, and to maintain it by not exceeding it. But running is harder than flying. Watch the bird in the air. Nothing looks less like effort.
2. When we have done flying, we go on running. We have found that after all we have to live on terra firma. But there is immense energy in us still. Thank God, too, for the running stage. That is the time when we are spiritually aggressive, when we count as an active force in the world.
3. But that stage, too, passes. And then we come to the quiet, steady, persistent "walk." And it is this that tries our mettle most of all. For we have lost the exhilaration of youth and the stimulus of strong emotions. We traverse the solid unromantic ground of principle, while the ghost of many a shattered illusion haunts our path. It is the period of disenchantment; when we discover the bounds of the practical, and when we have a stronger sense of life's limitations than of its possibilities. To do this makes greater demands upon our moral steadfastness than to do either of the before-mentioned stages in our life experience. Patiently to endure, persistently to press on — whatever the burdens we must carry, whatever the inequalities and roughnesses of the way, whatever the obstacles that lie and the enemies that lurk in our path, whatever the tempests that beat overhead — requires a strength of character and a heroism of soul that are the last achievement and the highest triumph of the spiritual life.
Parallel VersesKJV: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.