I’ve probably mentioned this in the past, but growing up, my favorite cartoons were the Bugs Bunny Looney Tunes cartoons. Saturday mornings were usually filled with a variety of kids shows, and in those days we didn’t have an awful lot more to do if it was too early to go out and play, or if the weather was bad or whatever. Yeah, cue the “old guy” jokes. In terms of cartoon characters, it wasn’t just Bugs that I enjoyed, as there were always a number of other characters that were featured.
Among my favorites was the Road Runner. He never spoke, but he always put the fake on his nemesis, Wile E. Coyote. Wile E. always thought he was outsmarting Road Runner, but somehow Road Runner always got the better of him. The funniest parts where when Wile E. would be chasing Road Runner and they would arrive at the end of a cliff. Somehow, Road Runner would be able to go off the end of the cliff and float long enough to watch Wile E. fall, only for Road Runner to take a giant step back onto solid ground (it’s a cartoon, after all). Needless to say, after a second or two for effect, Wile E. would free fall to his eventual (but temporary – again, this is a cartoon, folks) doom to a distant but resounding “POW” indicating the contact with the ground below.
If you or I walked off the edge of a cliff (please do NOT do so), our fate would be no different than Wile E.’s. We’d free fall straight to our demise, courtesy of gravity. If we, like the many times Wile E. would, tried to employ some means of running or launching ourselves off the cliff, we might achieve some distance past the cliff, but we would free fall, nonetheless. However, if we found a means to lift or propel ourselves … something like wings to help us fly … we would actually be able to jump off a cliff and soar. We would not free fall destructively, we would be able to experience exhilaration. But it requires an active choice to implore wings and choose flight, rather than free falling.
The same is true of our relationships in life. We can’t just commence a relationship and jump off the proverbial cliff of acquaintance without doing anything more to keep it soaring. It would just fall to its relational doom and die. Even if we took a good long running leap, we might make it a little farther, but we would fall all the same. There has to be a means to propel our relationship, to fly rather than fall, to employ an active attitude and a proactive posture toward flight. In a marriage, for instance, we can’t just go to the altar on our wedding and say, “I do” without having a mentality of a daily “I do today” every day thereafter. That’s flying, not free falling. Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? But how can we do this? God gives us a clear sense in Isaiah 40:29-31 …
He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
I’m pretty sure I can say with confidence that none of us have wings already. So, there’s nothing we can do on our own power to successfully free fall off a cliff and somehow fly. As the passage in Isaiah reminds us, though, we have a God on whom we can call and who will be the wings we need to fly.
So let me try to tie a knot on this clunky message.
When we are in relationship, in a marriage, a friendship, whatever, we can’t just initiate the relationship and just let it free fall from there. It needs to have lift, it needs to be kept aloft, it needs to fly in order to travel from its starting point to its destination. In a marriage, it means there needs to be devoted, dedicated, disciplined investment after the “I do.” Isaiah 40:31 reminds us that if we call upon the Lord to be the means of the flight we need, He will. He will give us the ability to travel, to be exhilarated in our journey, and to safely arrive at our final destination. Rely on … or as the passage says, trust in … Him, and He will carry us like wings would. Keep Him out of the relationship, and it’s a free fall straight down to a distant but resounding “POW” indicating the contact with the ground below.” Psalms 63:7-8 says the same thing …
Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.
We can’t free fall safely off a cliff, and we can’t enter into marriage without making a constant and daily commitment to relying on God to lift us with wings to journey to a final and magnificent destination. It’s not our natural ability in either case. We have no choice to but rely on God. If we don’t, we shouldn’t be surprised when we free fall and feel the deadly impact.
It’s no different in our relationship with Jesus. If we accept His free offering of salvation but we never rely on Him to lift us, to help us fly and journey to our final destination, we will free fall. Let me make sure I don’t mislead by way of my analogy, though … if we choose to have a relationship with Christ but free fall rather than fly, He assures us it won’t be to our utter doom and demise. He catches us at the bottom and while our free fall may not destroy us, it also won’t produce fruitfulness. And that is indeed to our demise in the sense of starving ourselves of the type of life we could otherwise live. And just like free falling for Wile E. Coyote, that is a tragedy.
In our relationships, in our marriages, and even more so in our walk with the Lord … free falling causes nothing but pain and possibly destruction. Trusting in, and being obedient to, God’s ways in carrying out those relationships will help Him to lift us as though He was giving us wings so that we can fly. It requires intentionality and it requires a recognition that flying is not in our nature and it is not a skill we possess on our own. We have to rely on the One who can help us fly by His power. In our faith journey, it’s the same as not saying “I do” only one time in our marriage, but to starting every single day, “I do today.” It’s communing with Him and conversing with Him just the same as we should in a marriage. To make it to our desired end, we have to be intentional, to trust God, to ask Him to give us wings to fly … rather than free fall … so we can make it all the way to our final destination and not an inch short of it.
Soli Deo gloria!