By Lynn Jones
When I was growing up, my mother believed in the Lord, vitamins, and White Leghorn hens. Almost every spring we would get 25 White Leghorn chicks in a box from Sears-Roebuck and raise most of them to maturity. Mom believed that White Leghorns were the best laying hens around. There were five of us in our family. We all enjoyed eggs, and cholesterol had not yet been discovered.
While White Leghorns were talented layers, they also had one very annoying, negative trait. They were good fliers. Possessed with a leaner body than other breeds, they could generate amazing lift with their modest wings. They would get a good running start, flap like crazy, and often clear the 6-foot fence around our chicken yard.
When flying got to be the craze among the White Leghorns, there was only one solution. We waited until they got onto the roost in the chicken house at night, pulled them off the roosting poles one-by-one, and clipped their wing feathers. With their shortened wings, they would go out the next morning as usual and line up on the runway leading to the fence. Running at breakneck speed and flapping with all their might, they would crash into the fence only a foot or two off the ground. Picking themselves up and brushing themselves off with as much dignity as possible, they would go off scratching their heads and muttering, “I wonder what on earth happened to my take-off?”
Sometimes that happens not just to chickens but to us as well. Life has a way of clipping our wings. We are more earthbound than we ought to be.
Grief, discouragement, and disappointment come along in the dark when we least expect them and clip our wings. Life becomes more difficult and depressing. We struggle. The ability to fly that we often took for granted is suddenly gone. Days are often spent in clomping our way across rugged terrain.
What can we do when that happens? Is there any hope? One source of hope can be found in the restoring power of the fellowship of faith. It can be found in the inspiration of worship and in our fellowship with God. Ken Medema, who is blind, points to the power of the church when he sings: “If this is not a place where tears are understood, then where shall I go to cry?/And if this is not a place where my spirit can take wings, then where shall I go to fly?”
The power to get off the ground, the power to soar, comes from the presence of God. In the stirring words of the prophet, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles” (Is. 40:31). Empowered by His Spirit and the fellowship of faith, you can “mount up with wings as eagles”!
Lynn Jones is a retired pastor who lives in Oxford. He does supply preaching for churches in his area and often serves as an interim pastor. Jones is also an author, has written two books and writes a weekly newspaper column. He may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.