Isaiah 40:28,30-31 – Do you know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (NIV)
Being on a canoe trip in Killarney in northern Ontario, Canada, surrounded by the majestic scenery of silver peaks, stone-front campsites, and clear blue waters, is quite possibly one of life's most exquisite experiences. As my friend and I paddled across George Lake, I recall looking up at the beautiful, clear blue sky and seeing an eagle, which seemed to soar effortlessly above us, totally free. My first thought was, "I hope to be that free one day." I hope to be free from all of the burdens of life: the burdens of sin and shame, the burden of grief after a great loss, the burden of debt, or the burden of living out the choices I have made throughout my lifetime. Our lives can be filled with many burdens, and, when we face them alone, our faith can become weaker and weaker, until we feel that we have nowhere or no-one else to turn to.
The eagle uses his burdens to make himself stronger, to soar higher. With the flap of his wings, the eagle displays a graceful strength, a strength that he finds deep within the wind. He allows the wind to carry him as he launches off the treetop or mountain cliff, and he has faith. He has the faith to believe that the wind will not let him down, but will, in fact, lift him up and lighten his load. In actuality, the eagle counts on the wind to work against him, and he expects the wind to be a burden to him. In his faith, the eagle knows that, without the wind's resistance, he would never be able to fly, for the wind drives him higher. It is the resistance that we experience in our everyday lives that will eventually lift us higher, helping us to soar and to achieve new heights within our own faith.
We can all turn our burdens into blessings. Where the eagle finds his strength in the wind, we can find our strength through Christ. We need to take our burdens of suffering and grief, sin and shame, bad choices and debts, and lay them down at the cross, where we can allow God to take these burdens or trials and turn them into blessings. Through our faith, we will find that God alone is our refuge and our strength. When we hope in the Lord, God is able to take our burdens and use them to strengthen us. It is through His strength that we are able to start over with new purpose and new direction in our lives.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, continue to give strength to the tired and weary. We pray for those who are sick or hurting, that they may be healed by Your gentle and caring touch. Teach us to be the encouraging and listening friend to those who have no-one else to hear them. Amen.