Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Soaring Above It All

     Out on our walk this morning, we saw numerous hawks, cranes and other birds soaring through the
sky without much effort.  They could easily spy the object of their destination without obstruction from trees and other foliage.   My husband and I had the same sort of experience when we flew to Europe last summer.  We were high above the cities and countryside effortlessly moving to our destination.   I thought to myself as I observed the birds, "Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could only see things from their perspective high above the circumstances in which we live?"  The truth is that while we are earthbound we can rise above the difficulties of life in the power of Jesus Christ.
     One of my favorite passages of the Bible speaks hope to those of us who do become wearied of life's daily assaults.  It is found in Isaiah 40:28-31:  "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 to him who has no might He increases strength.  Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they 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."  Reading this scripture always brings comfort to my soul.  Knowing that God does not grow weary or faint.  He knows the beginning and the end of our lives.
Winging our way to Scotland Summer of 2011
If we belong to Him, He will supply the strength, inner fortitude, and ability to rise above the fray.  
     Our problem is that we allow circumstances to dictate our attitude and outlook on life.  When that happens, our energy becomes depleted, our attitude stinks, and we become a circumstantial Christian.  By circumstantial Christian, I mean someone who is happy when everything is going okay, but when things fall apart, we do too.  This pattern of living is not unlike a roller coaster experience.  Up one day and down the next.  Not only does this stifle our witness for Christ, but it also makes everyone around us feel like they have to walk on egg shells because they do not know how we will respond.
     Some of you may be saying to yourself, "So what am I supposed to do when I have lost my job, I am about to lose my house, I am behind on car payments and my relationships have gone to pieces?  Am I supposed to smile and pretend it will be okay?"  The short answer is "no".  We are not to pretend we are happy.  Rather, we are to put our trust in the One who made us and holds our future in His hands.  He gives us strength when we don't think we can go on.  He enables us to mount up with the wings of an eagle and rise above the pain we face today.  However, He cannot do this if we refuse to let go and stop feeling sorry for ourselves.
     In one of the presentations given at the recent Ligonier Conference, the speaker said that the Puritans had an interesting way of dealing with the hard places in life.  If someone lost a loved one, the Puritans would remark that this person must be highly favored by God to be allowed to go through such a difficult time.  This is almost an alien concept in our world and even among Christians today.  How could we be favored by God when it seems the bottom is dropping out from under us, and yet, the Puritans had it right.  They were trusting God to work all things together for the good.  They acknowledged His sovereignty over life and death.  They believed in providence, and that nothing happens by accident.  If only we could grasp this approach to living.  It is a solid biblical approach.
Gliding to a perfect landing in Edinburgh, Scotland
     Personally, I do not think anyone likes a roller coaster existence.  We all want to live a stable life.  The Good News is that we can!  In Christ, all things are possible.  He is the wind beneath our wings that can lift us up like an eagle over the pain, suffering, and circumstances of life.  As others watch us soar, they will wonder what this power is that enables us to remain stable through the turmoil of life.  This is when we have a chance to tell them about Christ.  A circumstantial Christian has a hard time doing this because they are so up and down just like everyone else outside the faith.  This is why it is so important to put our trust in God the Father.  While our problems will not instantly disappear, our strength and perseverance through the trials will keep us on an even keel.  We won't crash land, but we will glide along until the Lord gives us a safe landing place.  May God grant us all this day the ability to mount up with wings as eagles; to run and not be weary and to walk and not faint.  As we do, we will bring glory to Him and be a testimony to others.  Selah!

Share your thoughts on how you have been able to mount up with wings as an eagle.  I welcome your thoughts here.

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