“But those 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

That’s a favorite verse that many of us have heard. But have you ever wondered why God lists these things in this order? After all, mounting up on wings like eagles seems so much more spectacular to us than running and especially than walking. We would write them in the reverse order, making the verse go from the ordinary to the majestic. Therefore, the order given here is illogical to us. Why would God list these three in this order? Why would walking come last? Can it really be most important? What are these things that the LORD wants to help us to do?

The first thing the passage lists is mounting up with wings like eagles. When I think of flying, I think of our fellowship with other believers. Those are the times when we study the Word together, or when we sing together before the LORD, or when we just talk about our Lord Jesus and our common love for Him. It is times at Bible camp or events with a Sunday school class or attending a Billy Graham crusade. Our hearts soar before God, and it seems like we’re in the heavens closer to Him.

Flying reminds me of one of the Bible studies I attend. I suppose to one outside it might seem that there is no way this kind of thing could be real. Every week they get out some choruses and a guitar, and all of us sing these choruses and there is praising the Lord and lifting your hands to Him and genuine excitement shown about singing to the Lord. What thing could possibly be more natural and more fun for a Christian to do? This is mounting up with wings as eagles…when our hearts soar before our God as we praise Him in harmony with other believers. That’s flying.

Then comes running. When I think of running, I think of the prophet Jeremiah. All of us like to have heroes. These heroes are people who have walked the way we are walking before us and have done what we consider a magnificent job of it. And I suppose prophets are no different in having heroes. Well, Jeremiah seems to have had a hero as well, and his hero was the former prophet Elijah. I suppose Jeremiah when he was younger had loved to hear tales of Elijah. How Jeremiah’s heart must have soared when he heard the story of how Elijah had stood up for God against the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of the wickedness of Ashera! And how fire had come down from heaven and burned up Elijah’s sacrifice! And, to top it off, how Elijah had run like the wind before the chariot of Ahab, outdistancing it in their run back to Samaria before the storm in a wonderful display of the power of the LORD!

Yet now Jeremiah was not thinking of his hero Elijah. His heart was heavy, as we read in Jeremiah 12, where he says to the LORD, “Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously? You have planted them, yes, they have taken root; They grow, yes, they bear fruit.”

Jeremiah was unhappy because it seemed to him that the wicked were rich and happy and healthy, whereas he was poor and lonely and mistreated. And here he had served God with his whole heart! How could God let this be? But God answers him, “If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, Then how can you contend with horses?”

God seems to be telling him, “If you can’t even run with these little, petty dictators of wickedness, how could you ever contend with a wicked king like Ahab as Elijah did?” He wanted Jeremiah to run. And that is how we run as well…in our witness for God before our friends, our co-workers, our world that does not know God. Our running is our witness for God before the unbelievers. Not just facing the wicked, however, but speaking to them of the way of salvation. That is hard to do. Much harder than mounting high like an eagle! Running hard in the face of opposition, never ceasing to tell the story of salvation to the lost, never ceasing to stand up in the face of wickedness and declare, “This is wrong!” That is running.

But then comes walking. How could walking be important? Walking is done step-by-step, taking us from place to place, yet nothing seems important about it. Once you have soared like an eagle, once you have run with the chariots, what use could there possibly be in walking? Yet in many ways, this can be the most important thing of all.

I think the sign of having God truly in every corner of our lives is when He’s made it all the way down to the every-day, boring, normal, routine walk of our lives. The little things, the “unimportant” but necessary things, the things that seem very ordinary and not worth His time. Walking can be thanking God for the children He has given us, rather than complaining about the messy diapers! It can be smiling at someone when we feel more like frowning. It can mean being honest, even if it means going out of our way to return a pencil. It is the little things, the day-by-day things, the things that often can seem to us so unimportant. And many who soar and even many who run find that, when they try to walk, they immediately grow faint. For, of the three, walking is the hardest of all. When we walk with God, then we have given the very substance and core of our lives to Him. When we mount up and run He has our mouths, but when we walk He has our hearts.

I pray that all of you who read this will learn to incorporate God not only in the soaring emotional times; and not only in the serving, witnessing, working times; but also into the very core of your beings, into the very fabric of what makes you “you,” so that He becomes everything in your lives. What a grand and worthy goal that is! May God grant us all the grace to accomplish it.

So let us mount up, let us run hard, and, most important of all, let us walk before the LORD.