Waiting in Weakness
Terri Downs, Director of Women's Ministries
July 29, 2014
"But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not grow weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
A few weeks ago, I was standing at my kitchen window looking outside when I saw a great commotion of fluttering in one of the bushes. Upon inspection, I discovered a baby fledgling blue jay had jumped from its nest in the tree and was on the ground making its home in our back yard. For days, I watched and made sure it's mama was feeding it. She was always close nearby, never distant, continually aware of where he was, always responding to his cries. I watched as she daily fed him and met his needs. Every morning, I checked, expecting baby bird to have flown away. Days turned into weeks as I kept all intruders from entering the backyard. The gardener was put off for several weeks, as well as the pest control man and the tree trimmer!
But, as the days wore on, my patience wore thin and this baby bird became more of an irritation and an intrusion. Keeping the dog confined to the house and out of the backyard was getting old. My concern about baby bird getting mauled by a cat or snatched by a crow was turning to downright worry. I even prayed daily with my granddaughter that God would strengthen baby bird so he could fly away because God made the birds to fly. I felt like God's character was on the line..."Please answer, Lord, and show her you are real..."
In truth, I just wanted him to fly away...be gone! Do what birds are supposed to do. I don't need this in my life! Lord, why isn't this baby bird flying away? So, I started reading up on fledgling blue jays. I learned they "fledge" or leave the nest and will be on the ground "a few days" while learning to fly. Mama bird stays nearby caring for them and then one day, they will up and fly away. Well, then what's wrong with my baby blue jay? It's been ten days and counting and the darn thing is flight deficient! Am I going to have to find a wildlife rehab clinic for him?
Isn't that how we all approach the problems and intrusions that come into our lives?
- Irritation because we don't have the extra time, and it usually costs us something.
- Concern that turns to worry. As if we don't have enough to worry about already!
- Prayer that results in frustration. We think we are turning it over to God, but in truth there's no peace because we are praying our timing, and our will, for what we want to happen.
- So, we attempt to seize control. When things aren't turning out the way we want them to go, we will just have to do something and fix it ourselves!
It occurred to me that a baby bird is the picture of weakness -- he can't fly, he is limited to the ground, where he is vulnerable. He is absolutely dependent on his mama to feed him, teach him, train him, and provide for his needs. How like him we are with our own limitations and weaknesses! We all have weaknesses -- broken relationships, personal struggles, losses, feelings of inadequacy and temptations, just to name a few. Or like above, circumstances in our lives evoke responses of our weaknesses -- irritation, worry, frustration or control.
The thing about weaknesses is they keep us grounded. They make us feel like we can't do what God has called us to do – we can’t walk or run, much less fly like a bird. We tend to despise weaknesses and weariness, but actually they are beneficial when they help get us to the place of recognizing our neediness where we finally let go of all our own attempts and trust and depend wholly on Jesus. Truthfully, God lets us get to the place of helpless dependence so that we will run to Him and learn to depend on His strength, His grace, His power and not our own. Just like a helpless baby bird on the ground.
Isaiah 40:28-31 reminds us:
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 become 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.
God's eyes are on those who remain faithful to Him. He never grows weary nor has he forgotten his people. He never relaxes. He is always ever watchful just like a mama bird. And yet, His resources are unlimited. They are never exhausted. His knowledge, power, creativity, understanding and sovereignty are unequalled. God renews us as we wait on Him. Through His power, we are enabled to rise, even soar above our circumstances and weaknesses.
That baby bird fluttered up to the tree a few mornings ago. On day thirteen. I let the gardener into the backyard and quick as that, he was up and flying. Not exactly like an eagle, but with renewed strength. And it was beautiful.