I had the chance to go to Mount Magazine a few weeks ago while on a retreat. I sat on a ledge overlooking just an incredible view of the valley below and the Ouachita Mountains to the south. The wind was howling, but the sun was shining. I saw what I thought was an eagle soaring majestically at eye level coming down the ridge.
My mind went to Isaiah 40:31, “Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles…” Wow! I thought, what a neat God moment. I watched as he came near me with absolute grace. And then I realized it was a buzzard. (Don't tell me God doesn't have a good sense of humor!) He passed me and then circled. And he kept circling right above me...pretty soon four of his buzzard friends showed up. I did shower that week, so I was fairly certain it wasn’t me they were smelling. At least I hoped not.
Now, my Grandpa Braschler taught me one day as we were fishing out on Lake Taneycomo when I was younger that if the buzzards start circling over you to close your eyes - they go for the eyes first. I had to laugh thinking about that as I closed my eyes and hoped for the best.
So not as majestic as an eagle, but still impressive nonetheless. I watched them soar for a few minutes and they moved on. A few minutes later one came back and he kept cruising back and forth along the edge of the cliff I was sitting on. He flapped his wings maybe twice in the five minutes I watched him.
I also noticed that there were some tweety-birds right above me as well, absolutely flapping their wings off trying to fly against that wind. I picked one out and just watched him struggle. He was going as hard as he could, and lost ground doing it.
My mind came back to that passage in Isaiah 40. I can relate to the tweety bird more than I can the eagle or buzzard when it comes to trusting God. I tend to think if I could just work harder, do more, or be more...but I love what He tells us:
It is easy for me to get here. In fact, I am there today. I am exhausted. Physically and emotionally. This verse breathed life into me again this morning as I asked God what I should write about. So this is for me today. And maybe it is for you as well.
Maybe you are tired and feeling weak. Maybe you too are exhausted. Here’s what it comes down to - Trust.
The times that I get dragged down and weary are always times where I have tried to take the reigns and do it on my own. And God allows us to do it. My own pride trips me up more than I would like to admit. And yet, He comes to us at the end of our ropes and tells us that He loves us. He reaches out His hand and asks, “Do you trust Me?”
When we trust Him, we lay those things that we hold tightest to in the hands of the only One who can sustain and truly handle them. We begin to trust Him with our family and career, our dreams and ambitions, our fears and our frustrations. We continually lay them at His feet and ask Him to guide and direct us.
Someone asked me the other day if I knew how they trapped monkeys in the jungle. I thought it was a punchline, but it turned out to be a life lesson. He said that they take a coconut, drill a small hole in it and then cut it in half. They put an orange in the coconut and then seal it back together, chaining it to a tree. The monkey smells the orange, sticks its hand in to get it out, but cant. Nor will it let it go. And that’s how you catch a monkey.
Sounds silly that they wouldn’t just let go, but I’m guilty of that at times as well. There are things in my life, and maybe yours, that if we would let go - we would experience freedom.
There is another verse that God really used during that week to encourage me and I will finish with this thought: