The majestic African cheetah is known for reaching speeds of 112 kph (70 mph) in short bursts, but it doesn’t do so well over distances. A BBC news item reports that four members of a northeast Kenyan village actually outran two cheetahs in a 4-mile footrace.
It seems that two large cheetahs had been feeding on village goats. So the four men came up with a plan to stop them. They waited until the hottest part of the day and then gave chase to the cats, tracking them down when the animals couldn’t run any farther. The exhausted cheetahs were safely captured and turned over to the Kenyan wildlife service for relocation.
Can we see ourselves in the cheetah? Our strengths might seem impressive, but they are short-lived. As the prophet Isaiah reminds us, we are like wildflowers that soon wither under the heat of the sun (40:6-8).
Yet it is at the end of ourselves that our God offers us comfort. A surprise rises up to meet those who wait on the Lord. In His time and ways, He can renew our strength. By His Spirit He can enable us to rise up on “wings like eagles” or to “run and not be weary, [to] walk and not faint” (v.31).
The prophets often carry a message of doom. Today’s passage, however, is one of encouragement. Isaiah tells God’s people to have hope because the God whose power created the ends of the earth is the God who lifts them up when they are weary.
Lord, forgive us for the many times that we rely on our short-lived strength. Help us see that all good gifts come from You, and that You are the never-failing source of our strength, hope, and joy.
When we draw near to God, our minds are refreshed and our strength is renewed.
By Mart DeHaan