The neighbor across the street put out corn and birdseed.
The result was a group of sand hill cranes, (see photo) noisy year-round natives of Florida. They are strikingly tall and walk carefully as if the bottoms of their feet are sore. The males wear a natty red cap and are larger than the females. They fight and argue with each other while the lady crane keeps pecking at the seeds and corn as if she were disinterested. They are fun to watch, especially when they decide to fly. Like an old fashioned carrier plane, they need a runway to gain airspeed. When they lift off and circle above the neighborhood and head out to some distant wetlands, the miracle of wings comes to mind.
We have all felt the desire to fly like a bird. It was this passion that led 20th century man to finally master self-propelled flight. Now the phrase, “taking wings” applies to us.
There are so many reasons to take wing:
- Travel to distant lands,
- The adventure of defying gravity,
- To get a higher view of creation, and
- To escape.
This is the desire of the psalmist:
“Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.”
Situations here on earth press upon us, seemingly increasing the downward pull of gravity. If we could only do what the birds do—take wing and fly!
But this type of flight remains a metaphor, a fantasy unfulfilled. Birds have wings; we do not.
Or do we?
Is there a way the soul can take wing?
Is there a dove whose wings we can borrow for a while “to fly away and be at rest?” Of course there is. The Heavenly Dove of the Holy Spirit can lift us above the tortured plane of difficulties. To pray in the Spirit is to take wing. To enter the lofty realms of truth in the Word of God is to soar in restful restoring flight. To gather with the saints to worship in Spirit and Truth is to be lifted to the heights of Mt. Zion where God lives and rules. There is found peace, real peace, a peace resting among the promises of God, not the circumstances of earth.
So let us practice our taxi for takeoff—prayer. Let us consult the pre-flight checklist, like any well-trained pilot, making sure all is in proper working order. And let us take wing and soar on the rushing mighty winds of the Spirit. We can travel to distant lands in effectual fervent intercession. We can defy the earthly gravity of circumstances for a while. From these heights, let us get a wider view of life. This escape is restorative, preparing us to land and face the challenges of the day.
Hear my prayer, O God; do not hide yourself from my petition. Listen to me and answer me; I have no peace, because of my cares. I am shaken by the noise of the enemy and by the pressure of the wicked; For they have cast an evil spell upon me and are set against me in fury. My heart quakes within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling have come over me, and horror overwhelms me. And I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. I would flee to a far-off place and make my lodging in the wilderness. I would hasten to escape from the stormy wind and tempest.”
Psalm 139:7-12 NKJV
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
Lord Jesus, thank You for the Dove of Your Spirit! Let me borrow His wings for a while this morning. Lift me above circumstances, good and bad, to see Your higher purpose in me. Help me take the wings of this morning for a flight to Your heavenly chambers. Let me carry the strength and beauty of Your Presence through this day. Though I am earthbound, Your lofty promises carry me forward, fearlessly into this day. Thank You, Lord, for these wings. Amen.
On the Wings of a Dove
Words and Music: Bob Ferguson
1. When troubles surround us, when evils come
The body grows weak. The spirit grows numb
When these things beset us, God doesn’t forget us
He sends us His love.
On the wings of a snow-white dove
He sends His pure sweet love,
A sign from above On the wings of a dove.
2. When Jesus went down through the river that day
Well, he was baptized in the usual way
And when it was done God blessed His son.
He sent him His love On the wings of a dove.
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved