You can listen to this week’s Devotional here
Author: Amy Ostwald
“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.”
One of my frequent walking routes traverses the North Boulder foothills. On this lovely spring day, I decide to turn west and climb the steep path that leads to where paragliders unfurl their sails, run to the edge of a cliff, and jump off into the bright blue yonder. I see a paraglider soaring high above me— falling, turning, and catching another rising current. I think to myself: Wouldn’t it be great if my life were like this — an easy peaceful flight, untouched by the chaos below?
I pause to catch my breath, then gaze back down the hill. Someone is coming up the steep trail toward me. As he approaches, I see that he has a huge pack on his back. I am curious, and as he passes, I ask if he is planning to camp out somewhere in the foothills. No, he explains, he is paragliding and the pack contains his gear. Although the sail and harness appear weightless in the air, the pack is actually quite heavy. His face shines with the effort of carrying it up the path.
Ahh, I say, and right then my perception shifts. The enterprise is not totally effortless after all; the flight is only made possible after a burden is carried and then completely turned inside out. I catch up with the young man at the jump-off point. I watch as he removes his pack and transforms the contents into a flying apparatus. Then he takes off running, sail billowing, and jumps boldly into the wind.
This is a different sort of flight from the easy one I had imagined earlier. There is a prelude to this flight; this is a joyful celebration flight following a period of struggle and transformation. I find that my soul is familiar with this type of exhilaration.
I am reminded that many of my deeply satisfying moments have come after I have responded to God’s nudge to put some effort in: to dig into a problem, to try something new, to take the high road or to love more fully. And I know that my spiritual life expands most profoundly when I am present to the personal and communal challenges around me.
Discarding my little fantasy about an easy detached life in the sky, I make a pledge to put new energy into my life’s journey. Working my way down the hill toward home, I consciously choose to engage with the world again, hoping that with God’s help I’ll be able to borrow some eagle’s wings every now and then.
Prayer: Loving God and Source of Joy, May I be open to whatever challenges come before me, embracing them gracefully and allowing them to stretch me as I grow with you. Amen