Running with birds...

Have you ever stopped to watch a large bird soaring above you in the sky? I don't mean casually looking up and thinking "oh hey, look at the bird flying"; I mean really watching the act of soaring? Today I became totally engrossed in it...completely intrigued. I was out for a long run and happened to notice a group of 4 large birds above me, soaring. I couldn't avert my eyes because the longer I watched, the more beautiful it became. They looked so graceful, and their movements seemed so effortless. They just left their wings out wide and soared above me in the blue sky, and it seemed so peaceful. Soon, they were out of my sight and I started running again, which I'm fairly certain did not look nearly as beautiful as the soaring birds!

As I was running, I started to think about Isaiah 40:31 -


"But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint" (NIV)


I have always loved this verse. When I first memorized the verse many years ago, it was in the King James version, which says "...those who wait upon the LORD..."  Waiting, hoping...not inactively sitting and moping,  but rather knowing that our strength is coming from our Heavenly Father. Instead of hoping for the best or hoping that I can make the outcome good, it's a sense of peace knowing that God is working everything together for me...that He really does have a great plan for my life. It's trusting Him, and looking to Him for the help that I need in every moment of every day. It's knowing that this life is not all there is for me; I have something more to look forward to. Hope is a tricky thing, because it's not linear. You don't just start "getting hope" and then you always get more as time passes. Instead, you can have much hope at any given time and suddenly lose it, or see it diminish. Why? Why if I'm really hoping in the Lord, or waiting on God, would my hope falter?

Then I started thinking about renewing strength. The last thing I "renewed" was a library book. What did that mean, exactly? It means I get to keep the book longer! Huh...so if I'm hoping in the Lord, and waiting on God, I get to keep my strength longer? Interesting thought! :)

Soaring...on wings of eagles. Watching an eagle soar is amazing. They are such large, powerful birds. They are beautiful to watch, as they soar swiftly and seemingly effortlessly in the sky. I remember learning as a child that bird's bones are hollow and lightweight. And yet, those bones are inside such a strong creature. Can I really soar like an eagle with God? Will my life really ever seem like soaring? Can I be strong, like those eagles, with God? I already knew the answer, of course.
I know I can...and I know that God and I mutually agree that we both want this!

Suddenly my iPod switched songs...I swear I am NOT lying when I say the song "Everlasting God" came on. "Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord..."  This is so true! When I'm actively putting my hope where it belongs...in my Father above...I do feel like I'm a stronger person, and I know that strength is God's awesome power. I feel like things aren't quite so bleak. It's when that hope wilts that the intricately woven threads of my life seem to start unraveling, and I start to feel, well,

hopeless.

It isn't always easy to remain hopeful in God. It isn't always easy to trust Him. It sure isn't easy to believe in a better outcome when life is throwing daggers at you from every direction. Life hurts sometimes, and it's much easier to just feel sorry for myself. Feeling sorry for myself usually just makes me more miserable. On the other hand, I know what it feels like to feel hopeful IN GOD. I've been there, and to be honest, I really like to be there. I try to stay there, seated at the feet of the Almighty, knowing that His strength is perfect. It's a good place for me to be. The longer I stay there, the easier it becomes to stay. I may not ever soar through life effortlessly, but I've seen how great life is when I keep my eyes turned upward - not to watch the eagles, but to look to my Almighty Father.

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