Energy Drinks, Eagles, and God
They who wait for 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
As my own kids are beginning their college search, I am reminded of my own, nearly three decades ago. During a college fair, at our high school, I found my future school, mostly, because I liked their mascot – The Eagles. There were other reasons, but honestly, I just liked eagles.
I also liked today’s passage, and so, I took this as divine confirmation, that if I went to the right school – the eagle one – and if I believed in God, I would receive divine power to become what I wanted. Mostly, I just wanted to be a better athlete. I looked at God like the energy drink in that commercial. Drink this, it gives you wings.
My self-interest in following God exposed my lack of understanding of him and today’s passage. I saw following God as a way to become bigger, better, and faster. If I claim this verse, I’ll become great.
I’m still learning, but I now understand this passage to be not about seeking my own greatness, but about understanding my weakness. In the passage, God helps those who, in their powerlessness, rely on his power. My addiction taught me that following myself is disaster. I’m a mess on my own. Every day, I must desperately follow God. It is from this position of utter humility, that he fills me, not with my greatness, but with his.
The temptation in recovery then, is to start thinking that I’ve got it all figured out. When I begin to feel that I’m fine, I forget my need for God and I stop clinging desperately to him. Then, I follow me back to disaster. The truth is, I need God just as much today as I did in the destruction of my addiction.
We always need God. We just don’t always see it. If we want God though, and if we want to be filled with his power and grace, then we must daily embrace our need and humility before him. We need to see our need.