My heart and imagination soar at the sight of a bird winging its way across the spacious blue sky, doesn’t yours? Lost in the moment a deep longing stirs within my heart and very soul whenever I watch birds playfully dance in the wind’s exhilarating embrace. I can’t help but sigh at the very thought of an untethered life such as theirs delightfully content in the knowledge that this is who the Lord has created me to be. As few others of God’s creations can, birds in their flights of freedom amongst the puffy, white cloud filled sky give rise to my deep yearning for true meaning, purpose, and fulfillment in my life. As they effortlessly fly across the sky it’s as if the sky is filled with plump seeds of aspiration and joy liberally sprinkled ‘round about them ready to be picked. So impactful on the human heart are birds that Emily Dickinson poetically likened a bird to hope writing, “Hope is the thing with feathers-that perches in the soul-and sings the tune without words-and never stops-at all-.” I long to soar as the birds do, and in this unguarded moment of my heart I am wonderfully lost to imagine and yearn for what might or could be believing that I too can fly, I too am free.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart…” Ecclesiastes 3:11a (WEB)
“For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says Yahweh, “thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a hope and future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (WEB)
Deep within me I feel the tug of these jubilant wings in mid-flight calling out to my heart’s innermost longings to come and join them. Yet, with sad resignation, if you’re at all like me, wee* dare not act upon such desires. Wee choose to live a lesser life of retreat as bodiless wings because this is a desire, a thirst, which wee must restrain because the risk to our heart is far too great to bear for fear these dreams and longings might not come to pass if wee were to earnestly pursue them. So they stay tucked away in a distant, well defended canyon of our heart where even the echoes of our soul’s deepest cries for meaningful purpose and connection are held hostage by fear and doubt. I quietly say to myself, “It feels like I am called for more than living a life of mere subsistence alongside uncountable grains of sand, but who am I that I should entertain even the very idea I might one day be set free to fly as these birds do?” Embracing the lies the enemy whispers in our ears about not only ourselves, but our Heavenly Father as well, wee accept the ground as our home choosing to live a life of a far lesser purpose than He has created us to experience. So long as wee choose to go it alone apart from Him wee are but a collection of feathers mired in the abrasive and gritty muck of unrealized and unrecognized potential. A light, late afternoon breeze gently caresses the wings in hopes of a reply whispering, “Get up…get up…this patch of ground is not your true home. Can’t you see? You are created for so much more than this!” Unmoved the wings lie motionless save for the flicker of a few random feathers that sadly have not grasped their true purpose. Ungrounded in Him we are grounded. Yet another day ends with the hazy glow from the sunset of regret casting a long, shapeless shadow from these captive wings.
“Yahweh’s hand was on me, and he brought me out in Yahweh’s Spirit, and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. He caused me to pass by them all around: and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and behold they were very dry. He said to me, Son of man, can these bones live? I answered, Lord Yahweh, you know.” Ezekiel 37:1-3 (WEB)
In order for us to no longer be earth-bound and be set free to soar to the heavenly heights He desires for us, we, the wings, must be intimately connected to Him, the body, for He, and He alone, is the source of our true identity, strength, and purpose.
“Stand firm therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and don’t be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1 (WEB)
“Again he said to me, Prophesy over these bones, and tell them, you dry bones, hear Yahweh’s word. Thus says the Lord Yahweh to these bones: Behold I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will bring up flesh on you, and you shall live: and you shall know that I am Yahweh. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, an earthquake; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. I saw, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh came up, and skin covered them above; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, Prophesy to the wind, prophesy, son of man, and tell the wind, thus says the Lord Yahweh: Come from the four winds, breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up on their feet, an exceedingly great army. Then he said to me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off. Therefore prophesy, and tell them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, my people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. You shall know that I am Yahweh, when I have opened your graves, and caused you to come up out of your graves, my people. I will put my Spirit in you, and you shall live, and will place you in your own land: and you shall know that I, Yahweh, have spoken it and performed it, says Yahweh.” Ezekiel 37:4-14 (WEB)
It is His breath of life that gives flight to our wings. In harmony as one with His body our wings break free of the dry ground on which we were once imprisoned and are lifted skyward, buoyed aloft on the winds of His inspiration and purpose. It is in this beautifully intimate dance between wings and body miraculously bound together that we truly experience freedom and our full God-given potential is released. It is in this mercy and grace-filled union alone between Creator and created, between Father and child, between body and wing that we are sent soaring according to His good and perfect will. We have been made new. Grounded in Him we are ungrounded. We are airborne. Our true potential is set free and takes to the sky leaving the sandy confines we once knew as our home far below us with each flap of our prayer-filled wings of adoration and worship.
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (WEB)
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellence of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” 1 Peter 2:9 (WEB)
“You will show me the path of life. In your presence is fullness of joy. In your right hand there are pleasures forever more.” Psalm 16:11 (WEB)
Unlike the unrecognizable shadow of the detached, stranded wings, when your true identity, meaning, and purpose are found in and through Jesus can the shadow cast upon this world by your soaring and victorious flight be anything other than the glorious message of freedom proclaimed by His cross? Where will your flight with Him take you today?
“I heard the Lord’s voice, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am. Send me!’” (Isaiah 6:8, WEB)
“I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (WEB)
“Therefore let us also, seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 (WEB)
“but for those who wait for Yahweh will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run, and not be weary. They will walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (WEB)
*(I like the idea this purposeful misspelling of “we” as “wee” conveys in this instance because of its implication regarding our own smallness of faith)