Daily Encouragement: Year 2, Day 155

From Handbook to God’s Promises


Wings Like Eagles
(Isaiah 40:29–31)

The life of one of God’s widely appreciated saints was ended at an early age by a brain tumor. But because Isaiah 40:31 was one of his favorite verses, Eric Liddell approached his trial with the same faith in God with which he had lived his life as a Christian. Born to missionary parents in China, Liddell (1902–1945) became an athlete and later a missionary to China. While a student at the University of Edinburgh, he represented Scotland, his homeland, as a competitor in the 1924 Olympics in Paris.

While he depended on God for strength to run with “wings like eagles,” at the Olympics he encountered a new challenge that caused him to “walk and not become weary.” Scheduled to run in a race on a Sunday, he said he could not do so, based on his commitment to “remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Ex. 20:8). No amount of coaxing from his coaches and friends, or even British royalty, could persuade him to violate his conscience and the principles of his beliefs.

At the last minute, a teammate volunteered to switch races with Liddell so that he would not have to run on the Sabbath. And Liddell went on to “mount up with wings like eagles,” winning the gold medal in the 400-meter race for Scotland.

Faced with the possibility of compromising his convictions, Eric Liddell exchanged his weakness for God’s strength and remained strong. This is exactly what God, through the prophet Isaiah, promised to do for the nation of Israel. Israel had been tested by God’s judgment, but when that test was almost over, God sent a message through Isaiah that “those who wait for the Lord” would renew their strength. Israel might have been weak, but God was strong.

Even the strongest of God’s saints will face times of testing, times of weakness, times of temptation. But in those times, when human strength is inadequate for the race set before us, God’s strength is more than sufficient. Like the majestic eagle being lifted by the power of the wind, believers can exchange their weakness for God’s strength. During those times, God’s perfect strength in every situation becomes most real.

God’s Promise:
You are always welcome to exchange your strength for His.