“Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading. It is a life of faith, not of intellect and reason, but a life of knowing who makes us ‘go.’ The life of faith is not a life of mounting up with wings, but a life of walking and not fainting.” – Oswald Chambers
I first came across this quote many years ago when I was reading the My Utmost for His Highest devotional. The verse Chambers is referencing in this quote is one from the book of Isaiah:
“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 NKJV)
In this verse it seems we can do both — we can mount with wings like eagles AND walk and not faint. So why does Chambers say otherwise?
To me it means we aren’t supposed to live our lives always in the “high” of a spiritual mountaintop experience. While those times do happen and are wonderful to go through, we don’t stay there forever. A majority of our faith walk is just that — a WALK!
I like to go hiking in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest where I live and so I can really identify with the metaphor I feel Chambers is referring to in his quote. While it is exhilarating to get to the final destination on a hike (be it a literal mountaintop or an alpine lake or a rushing waterfall), you usually only spend a small amount of your actual hiking time there. Which means a majority of your time is instead spent climbing a mountain or hiking along a stream or clambering over rocky, uneven ground.
Also, I have never suddenly sprouted wings and been able to soar effortlessly to the end of a hike — not matter how often I sometimes wished that might happen! Therefore, I can really relate to this idea of needing to walk and not faint as we navigate through life.
And, similar to hiking in new terrain, we really don’t quite know what this faith journey of ours will look like. We need to have a good set of directions or we need to have a map and a compass or we need to have a guide who has been there before. In Jesus we have all that and more!
**Here’s an old song for you based on this verse that I used to sing in church as a kid that keeps coming to mind (but we sang it with a little less of a gospel twist!)**