I love birds. I think it’s because they’re the only wild creations I can see every day. I don’t have to go to a zoo or an animal refuge. All I have to do is keep my eyes open and my ears tuned in. Years ago I bought a book with pictures and descriptions of all the plants and animals natural to North America. I bring it on vacations and every time I see a bird I haven’t seen before I record the date and place in the book next to the picture and description. Though I’m fascinated by all birds, I have grown extremely fond of some of them. The ones I love most are the ones who have talked to me—not in what the ornithologist might consider bird-calls. My favorite feathered friends are the ones the Lord has used to call to me.
Take for instance the quail. Its spring and they are all about the neighborhood. They’re very cute. They’ve got that decorative little feather right on the top of their noggins. They hang together in bunches, families I suppose. But the thing that draws me to the quail is the way they behave. They remind me of me (and of you actually). Have you ever noticed that they do a lot more jogging than flying? They run, run, run until a car screeches or a child screams by on a bicycle or a toddler tries to chase them down. Then they do a bit of flying. Just a bit—not too much mind you—just enough to set them on a fence post or on the rain gutter of my house. No soaring for them. Just enough lift to get them temporarily out of harm’s way. Then it’s back to moving those little bird legs just as fast as they can go.
Me too! I admit it. So often I run, run, run to the point of exhaustion, fear and anxiety, forgetting entirely that the Lord has promised that, “… they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles” (Isaiah 40:31). Like the quail, I run until I have no choice but to turn to the Lord and finally take flight. I run until I’m scared into flying.
In recovery we discover gospel principles that teach us to “wait upon the Lord” instead of running about taking matters into our own hands. We learn to fly. We discover our wings. In the beginning, like the quail, we do a lot more jogging than flying. Our understanding about wings and heavenly altitude is new. With continued practice we grow more and more accustomed to using our wings instead of our little bird legs. In fact, with a little time we come to realize that with the Lord we can fly at all times.
Tolstoy said it this way, “Jesus Christ teaches men that there is something in them which lifts them above this world with its hurries, its pleasures, and fears. He who understands Christ’s teachings feels like a bird that did not know it had wings and now suddenly realizes that it can fly, be free and no longer heeds to fear.”
The transformation from quail to eagle takes a lot of practice, maybe a lifetime of practice. The Lord often reminds me, “Nannette, with me you can fly!!!” But my name and today’s date is still right there in my bird book next to the little insecure quail. Every once in a while the Lord gives me a taste for soaring and eagles wings. It fills me with yearning for and a vision of the day when I do not ever ever vacillate.
What I have to do is take that yearning and my developing taste for flight and get practical. I ask the Lord to help me make progress. I ask Him to help me spend more and more time in the air and less and less time on the ground. I ask Him to help me remember I can fly, and He does. Then He reminds me that though the power is His, the choice is mine. So which will it be Nannette—Bird-Legs or Wings? That’s what I have to ask myself every morning and every hour of the day.
By Nannette W.
Posted Saturday, April 28, 2012
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