Posted by: Melissa Bane Sevier | February 3, 2015

To be able to walk

This time of year is rough on lots of people. In Kentucky we’ve had a lot less snow and ice than in some other places.  Even so, the grayness and short days often have a wearing effect. Some suffer from seasonal affective disorder, which leads to depression.

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for 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. [from Isaiah 40]

Our writer was of course speaking to a people in exile, who’d spent a lot of years away from home. They were tired. Tired of the distance, the longing, the not knowing if they’ll ever get back, of feeling powerless.

He speaks to us, too. We get tired. Exhausted, even. Lonely. Faint, the poet says. And what is the word we’re to hear?

When I studied biblical languages, I learned that triplets(three-line sequences) in Hebrew poetry, like the one at the end of this chapter, grew in emphasis from the first to the third. In other words, the last line is more important to the author than the middle, and the middle is more important than the first. In this case, that seems counterintuitive to me.

If he were thinking/writing/preaching the way I would, the poet would have said, “They shall walk and not faint, they shall run and not be weary, they shall mount up with wings like eagles.” But his order is just the opposite of what I’d expect.

Surely, I would say, flying like an eagle should be the pinnacle moment of this poem, not walking without falling down.

Here’s what I have grown to love in this poem: Sometimes, no matter how much we long to soar like an eagle, all we can do is barely manage to put one foot in front of the other, over and over and over again. Maybe that is the pinnacle. That the very best thing is simply to be able to walk, in faith and with strength, because God accompanies us.

© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2015


  1. A powerful message, Melissa. Whether our need arises during the grayness and short days of winter or the glorious and sun-filled days of summer, His comfort is always there.

  2. Thanks, Penny.

  3. One of my favorites. Terrific. Can’t wait to sing the anthem, too. Thanks.

  4. Thanks, Lois.

  5. Never looked at it that way, but now that I’m 80, I understand. Yet, I almost hit a man at Walmart who offered me a cart with a smile and “elderly first.” That really hurt.

  6. Ouch! Thanks, Bert.

  7. Love this and you!

  8. This is a keeper.Many thanks from someone who can’t fly, never enjoyed running, and is just happy to be able to walk around one safe neighborhood route (almost) daily. (which includes cement anti-car bomb walls, guards with guns who wave at us, a ring road exit lane to cross quickly, commuter traffic, ladies selling bread, and an occasional cat carcass or goat feet!)
    I’m working from home with a chest cold and not walking in Cairo’s bad air…looking forward to a clearer chest cavity…which will come long before the possibility of clear air here. 😊
    Grateful for internet to connect with friends and my doctor in Cleveland.
    Keep writing and greetings to Jerry.

    Available by e-mail and Skype in Cairo. (UTC+01:00) Sign up for our periodic newsletters at Cinda’s ETSC office e-mail address is‘s Synod of the Nile office address is

    Date: Tue, 3 Feb 2015 19:15:13 +0000

  9. Thanks, Rita.

  10. Thanks, Cinda. Good to hear from you.

  11. What a nice reading. And a definite reminder that God is walking right there beside me… Thank You Melissa.

  12. Thanks, Darlene.

  13. […] [vii] Melissa Bane Sevier said it best at […]

  14. […] Commentary by Melissa Bane Sevier […]

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