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…
Waiting is not so much a transient action as a permanent attitude. It is not the restless vagrant calling at the door for relief, it is rather the intimacy of the babe at the breast. They who thus wait upon the Lord shall obtain a marvellous addition to their resources. They shall obtain wings. We do well in picturing the angel presences to endow them with wings. At the best it is a clumsy symbolism. What do we mean by wings? We mean that life has gained new powers, extra ordinary capacity; the old self has received heavenly addition, endowing it with nimbleness, buoyancy, strength. What are some of the characteristics of life with wings?
1. It is life characterised by buoyancy. We become endowed with power to rise above things! How often we give the counsel one to another, "You should rise above it!" If, when we give the counsel, we could give the wings, the things that bind to the low plains of life might be left behind. How frequently we are held in bondage by grovelling to the mean and trifling. Some small grievance enters into our life and keeps us from the heights. Some disappointment holds us in depressing servitude. Some ingratitude paralyses our service and chills our delight in unselfish toil. Or some discourtesy is done to us, we cannot get away from it. Or, perhaps, it is "the murmur of self-will," or "the storm of passion" which prevents our emancipation. When we get the wings we have the power to rise above these trifles, and even above the things that may be larger than trifles and may appear like gigantic hills. The life with wing-power is not the victim of "the spirit of heaviness."
2. Life with wing-power is characterised by loftiness. "Mount up!" We speak of a "lofty character" as opposed to one who is low or mean. There is no feature that the Bible loves more to proclaim than this "aboveness." "Seek the things that are above"; "Set your mind on things above." It speaks also of dwelling" with Christ in the heavenly places."
3. The wing-life is characterised by comprehensiveness. High soaring gives wide seeing. Loftiness gives comprehension. One man offers his opinion on some weighty matter and he is answered by the charge, "That is very low ground to take." "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." It is well when we get so high that our vision comprehends our town, better still when it includes the country, better still when it encircles other countries, best of all when it engirdles the world. It is well when we are interested in home missions; better still when home and foreign work are comprehended in our view. "Lord, we saw one casting out devils in Thy name and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us." How narrow the outlook! One day the vision of the disciples will be immeasurably enlarged.
4. The wing-life is characterised by proportion. To see things aright we must get away from them. We never see a thing truly until we see it in its relationships. We must see a moment in relation to a week, a week in relation to a year, a year in relation to eternity. Wing-power gives us the gift of soaring, and we see how things are related one to another. An affliction looked at from the lowlands may be stupendous; looked at from the heights it may appear little or nothing. "This light affliction which is but for a moment worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." What a breadth of view!
(J. H. Jowett, M. A.)
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.