“Those who hope in the Lord Shall renew their strength.
They shall soar on wings like eagles;
They shall run and not grow weary,
They shall walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40.31

The key to this verse is that there is a difference between just plain hoping and hoping in the Lord. Just plain hoping is a wonderful thing. Hope exerts a positive influence on every aspect of a person’s being. It energizes and sustains. Hoping in the Lord brings God into the picture.

Let’s consider non-threatening example: a high jumper evaluating a jump. A jumper who hopes she will clear the bar will have a chance. If she approaches the bar with no hope, she will not be able give her all, and therefore has no chance of success.

Our high jumper has trained; she has practiced her approach and knows where each foot should be at takeoff. She knows how to move so that she does not knock the bar off the standards. She has trained so that she has developed the speed and agility for her event. In other words, she is fully prepared. But if she becomes discouraged; if she doubts herself; if she loses hope she will not and cannot succeed. But when she stands strong; when she is confident that she is as ready as she possibly can be, she can commit to the jump and give it everything she has got. That is just plain hope and it is very, very important.

Hoping in the Lord is an entirely different phenomenon. It brings God’s power and resources to a person’s life. When our high jumper invites God into her life she connects with a power greater than her own. She still has to prepare; she still has to train; she still has to keep her focus. But now she adds the power of God to her endeavor.

She may pray something like, “Dear Lord, I have trained; I’m fully prepared. You made me; you made me strong and fast and agile. I don’t ask for victory, for you are the God of the other athletes as well. I ask for the strength and courage to do my best. Thank you. Amen.”