Isaiah 40:27-31 “Why do you say, Oh Jacob, and speak O Israel: “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my just claim is passed over by my God?” 28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary and the young men shall utterly fall 31 But those who wait upon 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."
Hello MVAOG family,
As you can probably tell, Isaiah is one of my favorite books. This particular portion of scripture entered into my young life in the form of a song. That song is, “We will wait,” the sixth song on the album, “Lift Him Up” by Ron Kenoly of Hosanna records.
Here’s a link to the song if you are interested:
I was introduced to Ron Kenoly by my brother in law Scott Brant. We (Scott and Olivia and Angela and I) were driving to Tucson for something; I can’t remember if it was church related or a couples date. We were all newlyweds then and I had been saved a year and a few months. Anyway, Scott had the “Jesus is alive” album on tape and it was playing. I was immediately drawn to it, partly because Ron Kenoly’s voice reminded me of Lou Rawls. At any rate I became an immediate fan and scooped up the “Lift Him up” album as soon as it came out.
As I began to listen to the album on my CD player I would skip back and listen to the songs over and over again, trying to pick out the different parts in the choir (even though I had no Idea what they were) and try to isolate the different instruments. I was blown away by the music but what really captivated me was the message… a message of rejoicing, of an all glorious, all powerful God who loved me.
At the time (1995) Ang and I had been married about 2 years and if my recollection is correct, we were going to find out in about 4 months that we were pregnant with our son Keinan. Still being a relatively new convert I had a lot of zeal but I also harbored a few… concerns. I knew where I came from, I knew what I was before Christ and I didn’t exactly grow up with a lot of confidence or surrounded by people who had confidence in me. In fact it was quite the opposite; I would hear through the family grapevine what amounted to people taking bets on when I would fail in life.
That doubt would then infect me, I would assimilate it, and it became a self doubt that would gnaw away, unseen, at my peace. Would I fail? Could I do this husband thing and not hurt anyone or destroy lives by being stupid or making a dumb decision? Could I endure? Could I be the husband and father I always wanted to be or would my fate be the same as those who went before me and even “prophesied” if you will, my eventual failure.
Enter “We will wait”
On that album and that particular song, Ron begins by saying:
“The bible says in the book of Isaiah, (and I know many of you probably know this scripture by heart) they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint… our prayer tonight Lord is that you teach us how to wait upon you. Teach us how to soar upon the wind of your Spirit just like the eagle glides upon the wind… teach us how to wait Lord.”
To a young convert that came from a background that I came from, one of neglect, dysfunction and abandonment issues… wondering if I would go on to do what the old adage says, “hurt people, hurt people (eventually).” Those words and ensuing prayer struck a chord…
“they that wait upon the Lord shall…”
Not might, not maybe, not “stand a good chance” but “Shall”…
It was like refreshing rains to a dry, sun-baked desert, a cool breeze on a hot summer day, wind to stalled out sails on a flat sea… it was relief - hope.
Suffice to say, I needed to know what exactly “wait” meant because I wanted the promise of mounting up with wings as eagles, running and not growing weary and walking and not feinting. What did wait entail? Was it just as it said… simply waiting? or was there something more? an “and”?
I had just bought a Strong’s Concordance so I looked up “wait” and this is what I found:
Strong's #6960: qavah (pronounced kaw-vaw')
a primitive root; to bind together (perhaps by twisting), i.e. collect; (figuratively) to expect:--gather (together), look, patiently, tarry, wait (for, on, upon).
Now the patiently tarry and wait (for, on, upon) were self explanatory… it is hard for someone who feels strong and confident to just wait. The portion of scripture warns that even youth will faint and the young, in all there boundless energy will grow weary… however it was the first part that threw me… “to bind together (perhaps by twisting) i.e collect”
Furthermore, there seemed to be a plurality to these descriptions i.e. gather together, collect… in that it seemed to imply not only an individual responsibility but a group dynamic as well. Phrases “like tarry” and “wait upon” were reminiscent of the upper room spoken of in the books of Acts, “and being assembled together, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
However there was still, “bind together (perhaps by twisting)” what did that mean, how did it relate to waiting and how did it lead to obtaining renewed strength?
As I pondered the phrase a sermon came to mind. The preacher was talking about the Kingdom of God, more specifically when Jesus said, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:” Matt 13:47
He said how the action of the net was in some ways living this life. Also that it could be interpreted as the act of evangelism and discipleship (gathered of every kind) and how sometimes the dynamics of that action can be stressful and cause rips, hence, the fishermen, at the end of the day “mending” their nets, that is, go over the nets, knot by not, repairing and retying.
He said the knots represented the relationships that are formed in the body of Christ and that we could not accomplish much by throwing our singular knot into the water, however, those same knots, in series could accomplish so much more and withstand the powerful stresses of the activity of fishing and that like those fishermen we need to take time to not only nurture those relationships but repair them if need be.
It began to dawn on me what “binding together (perhaps by twisting)” could mean… for what is a net but a series of knots tied together to make a whole and in that whole the singular strength of each knot increases exponentially.
This was touched upon by Kristen Welch in her post, “Not alone”
“Pastor Frank’s sermon today reminded me of just how dangerous isolation can be. You need the perspective others can give you when it seems the deck is stacked against you --when you are frustrated, when you are tempted to entertain self-pity, worry, fear. God is with you, but so is your church family, your friends, your family."
Psalm 55 showed how David struggled in the same ways that we do. The answer is to turn to God, really turn to Him.
The answer is also to turn to those we have in our life who can lift us up. They help us replace the words coming out of our mouth with something much better than worry and despair. See how David invites others into a time of praise in the midst of his fears:”
The ties that bind… that as we wait, tarry individually and or bind together collectively, in that, we will mount up with wings as eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not faint…
Does this mean we have to constantly be at each other’s houses and in each other’s lives 24/7?
Does this mean we always need to be gathered together?
I should hope not... However what I think it means in the simplest of terms is that at the very least, watching you navigate life with the poise and Spirit of God manifest in your life, that I can draw hope and strength from that to carry on in the toils of my life and vice versa. That when I’ve come to my wits end, I can ask for your prayers on my behalf. That my experience, testimony, gifts and talents can be the very thing that God will use to bring breakthrough to you and you to me and our not only being open to that but when need be, seek it out.
They that Qavah upon the Lord shall…
Until next time, love and prayers,