but those who wait for Yahweh shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 WEB)
When Beth and I were newly weds we loved to visit new places during weekends and holidays. Even after forty plus years we enjoy visiting a new spot and experiencing a new adventure. One Saturday, right after we were married, we visited Natural Bridge State Park in Eastern Kentucky.
These bridges are arches of stone carved out by the wind and rain over centuries. They are staggering in size and breath taking in their natural beauty. In the course of our visit we hiked to the top. People stood about the edges, without guard rails, and enjoyed the view.
I centered myself on the land bridge, glanced about frantically, and looked for a quick excuse to get off. I don’t like heights. Beth thought it was funny as she skipped about and enjoyed the various views with the other tourists. My heart leaped in fear when anyone, especially my dear wife, stepped near the precipice of death. We didn’t stay on top very long.
Although I don’t like heights, I overcame my fear on occasion. Sometimes it was because of the need and other times because of the dare. In High School I worked one summer in Colorado for Young Life. On a free day we climbed the face of Silver Cliff. About half way up I made the mistake of looking down. I froze where I was. It took a lot of will power, and coaxing from my friends, to move onward and reach the top. At the precipice I discovered a nice trail down the backside and wondered why we risked our lives on the rock face. But, I could say, I did it!
When I was young, I remember reading about heights in Isaiah. The prophet spoke about soaring like an eagle. All I could think of was the height above the ground and the possibility of falling, hard, to the earth. I was leaning on my own understanding, not the Lord’s.
The Lord often calls us to stretch our limits as missionaries. With antennas reaching three hundred feet into the corrosive tropical sky there was always in need for maintenance. One day the Lord called me to stretch my trust in Him by helping with tower work.
I studied the bosons’ chair. It was carefully cabled to the pulley at the top of the tower and anchored back on the ground by a jeep. I shook my head at the thought of swinging so high in the breeze. What was I thinking? In a moment of temporary insanity I actually volunteered to help with the work. I suppose I didn’t dare say no. Oh the terrors inflicted by a false sense of self pride!
Strapped an buckled with a hard hat in place I was slowly hoisted up the side of the tower to help apply primer to the structure. We were repainting the eight masts, a long and laborious manual job.
Once aloft, casting sound reason to the wind, I again looked down. Whoa! Beneath my feet was air. My faith in the strength of the rope was increasing by each foot I rose above the ground. As my heart slowed to a normal pace I began to enjoy the bird’s eye view of the island.
What looked confusing on the ground took on the appearance of order from a different perspective. During breaks from slopping primer on the metal surfaces, I studied the shoreline, the neighboring island of Cocos, and even the construction of the curtain antenna.
In the years that followed I again took more opportunities to climb into the bosons’ seat and help with the necessary repair or maintenance. There was freedom in hanging high above the ground. There was freedom in conquering a long time fear. I am still afraid of heights and continue to be reticent to be in high places but the Lord provided strength to teach me something new each time I rose above the solid ground.
As a Christian I am often rooted deep in my perspective of the world, my life and those around me. Sometimes the Lord pushes me to new heights so I learn to view the world and those around me with a new perspective.
At times fear binds me. It’s then God places a new challenge, a new opportunity in my path to teach me to trust in him. Once I allow God to overcome my fear I can see things from a new and better perspective. It’s good to trust in the Lord and not rely on our own understanding. I’m ready to soar high above the earth like an eagle with God’s hand. Are you ready to soar?