Wings of Resilience
“But those who wait on 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.” (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV)
As I walked towards the old barn, something fluttered underneath the foundation. It was hot, and I was in a hurry, but expecting to find an elusive stray kitten, I got on my hands and knees to investigate.
It wasn’t a kitten’s tail that I had seen, but the wing of a butterfly who was entangled in a spider’s web. Hanging upside down, weak, and seemingly without hope, she appeared listless. Other than the occasional movement of her one free wing, she seemed resolved that she would never know her normal life again. Would she ever feel the wind beneath her wings again? Would she be able to enjoy beautiful flowers again? At this moment, her future did not seem very promising.
Normal life. Don’t we miss ours? Simple things like visiting family, going out to eat, going to church, going to work or school without worry or fear. These are things that we once took for granted. Will we ever be able to return to our normal routine?
As I gently freed the delicate butterfly from the tangled web, I wondered if she was going to survive this ordeal. I held her in my hand and offered her some water. I then put her down in a shady spot and watched as she regained strength and began to walk. After a few minutes, she began to move her wings. When I checked on her an hour later, I smiled as she flew to a low-lying branch on a nearby tree. Her resilience amazed me. Holding this fragile creature in my hand reminded me of the song that we all learned as children, ”He’s got the whole world in His hands.”
So if we find ourselves caught in the web of fear, anxiety, or depression, we should remember that God is holding each of us in His hand. Just as this butterfly accepted water from me, aren’t we thankful that God offered each of us Living Water, in His Son, Jesus Christ?
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 NKJV)
Thank you Lord for reminding us that we belong to you!
Scripture to Comfort
by Meghan Kleppinger, crosswalk.com
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. – Matthew 5:4, NAS
If you have ever suffered a broken relationship and/or heart, the loss of a loved one, or any number of other devastations, than you know about “that” pain.
It’s that pain that originates in the bottom of your stomach and initially feels like a big numb ball. Later it develops into a raw gnawing that can only be equated to burning stabs of fire. It makes it way up through the intestines and finally settles in the throat, choking out all attempted spoken words and creating such an excruciating sensation that tears are sure to follow.
Like any other person who has spent more than a few days on this planet, I know “that” pain well. It comes quickly and when it does, it’s difficult to believe that it will ever go away. It brings about sorrow, grief, and as it eventually begins to fade away, it brings guilt.
This has been a tough year for my family. We’ve lost friends and recently, just a few short weeks ago, my grandfather. I know I’m not an anomaly and that people all over the world are suffering a similar pain, so as I began to pray about what I should write about for this week, I started thinking about what has really been helpful for me during these times.
Friends and family have been great, but most of all, scripture has been comforting me. My hope is that the scripture I share with you will be beneficial to you as you grieve or that you can use it to minister to others who are suffering.
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27)
“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed n spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
“The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:17)
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)
“And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
‘Did not I weep for him that was in trouble? was not my soul grieved for the poor?’ Job 30:25
Suggested Further Reading: James 1:26–2:16
Remember a little more the intimate connection between the body and the soul. Go to the poor man and tell him of the bread of heaven, but first give him the bread of earth, for how shall he hear you with a starving body? It seems an idle tale to a poor man, if you talk to him of spiritual things and cruelly refuse him help as to temporals. Sympathy, thus expressed, may be a mighty instrument for good; and even without this, if you are too poor to be able to carry out the pecuniary part of benevolence, a kind word, a look, a sentence or two of sympathy in trouble, a little loving advice, or an exhortation to your neighbour to cast his burden on the Lord, may do much spiritual service. I do not know, but I think if all our church members were full of love, and would always deal kindly, there would be very few hearts that would long hold out, at least from hearing the Word. You ask a person to hear your preacher; but he knows that you are crotchety, short-tempered, illiberal, and he is not likely to think much of the Word, which, as he thinks, has made you what you are; but if, on the other hand, he sees your compassionate spirit, he will first be attracted to you, then next to what you have to say, and then you may lead him as with a thread, and bring him to listen to the truth as it is in Jesus, and who can tell, but thus, through the sympathy of your tender heart, you may be the means of bringing him to Christ.
For meditation: Jesus had compassion on the shepherdless and hungry crowds (Mark 6:34; 8:1–3). His disciples had doubts and wanted to send them away (Mark 6:35–36; 8:4). But it is amazing what God can do with a little willingness on our part (Mark 6:37–44; 8:5–9).
“Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” – John 8:53 NIV
The religious leaders of Jesus’ time were confident they understood history, their interpretation of the past, the meaning of events, and the correct role of each person. They were so confident that they decisively rejected anything and anyone who did not fit into the account they developed.
To them, Jesus just didn’t fit, so they simply rejected Him.
On one hand, we can admire them for thoroughly studying the past and their awareness of events and people important to their history. Yet these interpretations blinded them from seeing God’s work in their time. Their minds were closed, and they could not conceive that He might be working in new or different ways. This means they were completely blind to recognizing the ministry of Jesus.
We easily can criticize these men, but anyone can be guilty of similar mistakes. How quickly we can reject ideas that don’t fit neatly into our worldview. We can be closed to God’s work because it’s not what we expected.
Yes, it is important to learn from the past, but we also must be on guard against being closed minded. Be sensitive to the Spirit, ready to recognize new insights He wants to teach us.
Submit your thoughts to God. Seek Him in prayer to see if He wants to teach you new things or to do things in new ways. Open your mind and heart to new insights.