As crazy as life’s been for the last month, it reminded me of something I wrote several years ago at another stressful time in our life. Here it is…
I haven’t flown a kite in years…probably not since I was a little kid of no more than six or seven. My dad would stop on his way home from work and pick one up if was a windy afternoon.
I was always afraid to let it go too far because I didn’t want to lose it or get it caught in a tree or power line. I remember when it went too high, I would scream to my dad, “bring it back down, you’re going to lose it!”
Today after church we stayed late talking with two good friends of ours about some issues that have caused some discord among our church members. It is something that has went way too far and probably…no, definitely, wasn’t handled the correct, biblical way, so as could be expected, the thing has grown from a pebble into a large stumbling block in our congregation.
Our lives have been particularly trying for the past few weeks, anyway. My wife’s dad has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. The doctors gave him three weeks to live a month ago. Obviously doctors and God don’t work on the same schedule, but all the same, we can see him slipping away quickly. She flew up to help take care of him and I stayed here in Tennessee with our kids while she was gone. Time away from your spouse makes you realize how much you love them. It’s like a body functioning without a hand or a foot. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I had plenty of help from family and I consider myself competent enough to handle day-to-day life by myself, but I miss my wife and life is not the same without her.
She had a good visit in Michigan, though, and was able to spend some good, quality time with her dad and her family there. She talked openly and candidly with him about his salvation and was assured by him, before he slipped off into a state I liken to limbo, though not a coma, that he knew that he was safe in Jesus’ arms and he knew he would be in His presence when he left this life.
Also, this is a time for change in our two hundred member church. Our pastor of nineteen years is moving on to a new ministry and our associate pastor will be stepping in to fill the role. We have many new, or fairly new members and a lot of visitors and regular attendees who have been with us for a while now. There are two new subdivisions going up now, one of which is directly across from our church entrance. The state highway that our church fronts is being widened from a moderate two lane to a bustling four lane highway, and many businesses have already planned to move in.
We ate at the little Chinese restaurant up the road from church and after we had our fill of General Tso chicken, sweet-and-sour pork and fried rice, we headed home, intending to take a nice Sunday nap before Sunday night service.
When we got home, however, the kids were wide awake and my wife decided to read the Sunday paper on our back deck to enjoy the beautiful, sunny day with the cool breeze blowing from the Southeast. As Kaleb and Josh played football in the backyard, I remembered the kites we bought but never used the Spring before.
After reading the instructions (yes, I wanted to be sure I still knew how to fly a kite) my wife and I rounded up the kids and got in an open spot in the back yard away from trees and power lines. I lifted up the kite and slowly it fluttered and darted back and forth…up and down, and then it shot upward like a rocket!
“Wow!” Kaleb shouted. He is four and half and has never actually seen a kite fly. As it went up, up and away, I gave him instructions as I prepared to hand the string over to him. “Hold it up and when you feel it tug, let it go.”
When you feel a tug, let it go.
That struck me as if it was God’s own voice speaking directly to me.
How many times, especially lately, with all the crazy things in life, from family issues to sick fathers-in-law to work problems to church issues have I been frustrated to the point of shutting myself down and not allowing God to direct me? How many times have I said, “not now, God, I have too many other things on my mind that I’m trying to figure out”? How many times have I ignored that “tug” at my own heart?
What if I had felt the tug and, like I told Kaleb, just “let go”. Not on my own power. Not on my own understanding. Not because I knew exactly what my next step would be, but simply because I knew it was God tugging at my heart telling me, “it’s okay. I’ve got you and I’m not going to let you go too far.”
As I watched the kite go higher and higher, I realized how apparent was the wind that carried it up to Heaven, even though I couldn’t see it. I could hear it. I could feel it. I shuttered at the thought of the Holy Spirit working in the same way in our lives.
Even though we can’t see it, we know He’s there beckoning us to let Him take us to the next step…to let go and trust that He’ll lift us up to where we need to be, just like the wind under that kite.
Sometimes, though, we like to do things on our own. Sometimes instead of being too afraid to let go we are too confident that we can do it on our own. We jump forward trying to take flight by our self. We flutter, and dart side-to-side, up-and-down and may even take flight, but without the wind under us, we soon crash to the ground. Our own power can’t take us very high or far.
As we pick ourselves up and re-wind our string back onto our spool, we realize it’s a lot more difficult and takes a lot more time getting ready to fly again, and realize how much easier it would have been if we’d not tried to fly on our own in the first place.
We decide to wait for the wind. What a concept.
The Bible tells us that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. I’ve found that to be true so many times, but all too often it’s only after I’ve tried to fly on my own. Sometimes God will allow us to take flight by our self and even to sore high for a while before He shows us that without him we are powerless. We have nothing pushing us or sustaining us. There is no wind underneath our wings holding us up close to Heaven.
My kids had a good time flying their kite today. My wife and I did too. With all the thoughts spinning around in my mind and the things that weigh heavy on our hearts, this afternoon enjoying the simple pleasure of flying a kite with my family taught me one of the simplest but hardest-learned lessons…when I am weak, I am strong.