The finish line reveals a lot about a runner. Some barrel through the line, others stumble or waver over it, and others start to slow up as soon as it’s in sight. Isaiah used an eagle in this verse, birds known for their speed. When we are weary, God supplies immediate strength. How we receive it is up to us. We can waver and stumble over the line, fear and slow as if we’re not sure we’ll make it, or barrel through with all of our strength, unconcerned of running out of all we will need to cross the line victoriously.
Hope in means to trust in or look to expectantly (NIV Study). It’s the discipline to swat the lies and replace them with the truth of who and Whose we are. This is the full life Jesus called for us to live …one that barrels through the finish line to hug Him in heaven. Yet so many days, we run our race with a fear or a hesitation, as if we don’t quite trust we have the strength to run the race God has laid out before us. “It’s not exactly what we’d think, or could ever imagine,” Jonathan Parnell explains, “There’s nothing else like it. A God who is so mighty that he doesn’t need anything. A God who displays his glory not by our working for him, but his working for us.”
To run a race to its full potential, a runner has to train in layers. First, there are base miles, time to let leg muscles adjust to running. Then, speed work, endurance, and strength work are added. Finally, there is the study of race strategy. A fully prepared runner steps to the line with a truckload of disciplined and dedicated training and preparation. “Life is not a game with no lasting consequences,” John Piper explains, “The way we live our lives has eternal consequences.” Sometimes, we look at the hard work it will take to accomplish the task at hand and decide we can’t do or it’s not worth it.
Renew means to exchange human weakness for God’s strength (NIV Study), not only in physical strength, but mentally and spiritually alongside what we do outwardly to prepare. Each day, we renew our strength, meaning we lay down our sins at the foot of the cross, in exchange for the strength of God’s wisdom from His Word. He rejuvenates us by the glory and beauty of His creation surrounding us. He fills our lives with people to encourage us and cheer us on.
Photo credit: SWN/Sarah Martin
Those people are there, and the strength is available, but we have to get up and go …open our Bibles, get on our knees and get to know who God is, and walk out into the world expectant and confident in who we are because of Whose we are. This is the poise and posture with which we run the race. “You have a race to run,” Jon Bloom wrote, “It’s a race you’ve been given, not one you’ve chosen.”
Paul wrote, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24).
Don’t slow up as the finish line nears. Run right through it. Prize, in the original Greek translations, means “the award to the victor in the games,” but it also means, “the heavenly reward for Christian character.”
Christian character are the Fruits of the Spirit Paul described to the Galatians:
God gives us the strength to run the race with the fruits of the Spirit to bring glory and honor to Him. This is the reason we run through the line when He tells us to “go.” He doesn’t have to involve us in His plan, but He chooses to, giving us all a unique purpose as workers for His kingdom.
“In the Christian life, we run the race of faith,” Jennifer Brogdon wrote for Desiring God, “We don’t strive for the crown that only one can receive. We strive to finish strong in our faith.” The rock of the Christian faith is hope in the Lord. An eagle is unmistakable. When we see a big bird flying overhead and wonder if it is an eagle or not, it’s not just the white markings on its head that give is away, but the majestic, poised way it flies. It’s different from the scattered and panicked circling over hawks.
The eagle is different. Christ followers are different.
Instead of circling in a panic, we are focused on Jesus. We are confident in Him, and His ability through the Spirit to strengthen us with the steady speed we need to run the race …through the finish line.
Photo credit: Pexels/Samuel Silitonga
Meg, freelance writer and blogger at Sunny&80, is the author of “Friends with Everyone, Friendship within the Love of Christ,” and “Surface, Unlocking the Gift of Sensitivity,” She writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. Meg earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University but stepped out of the business world to stay at home and raise her two daughters, which led her to pursue her passion to write. She has led a Bible Study for Women and serves as a Youth Ministry leader in her community. Meg, a Cleveland native and lifelong Browns fan, lives by the shore of Lake Erie in Northern Ohio with her husband, two daughters, and golden doodle.