Pop Ralph is a hero of mine. Though I’ve never seen him face to face, my grandfather was full of joy in raising his four girls. The youngest daughter is my miraculous mama, whose life was revived twice after losing a heartbeat when she was a newborn. Pop Ralph was full of quips and one of his mantras in raising his girls was “give them roots and give them wings”. In other words, raise your children upon a firm foundation, help them understand the family roots and history. Raise them in such a way that as they mature they have the ability to soar in strength and gain perspective from a vantage point above their former fears and uncertainties. Doesn’t this sound like the heart of our heavenly Father? His desire is that we would be rooted and grounded in His love so that we could soar on the wings of His Spirit in strength. When our roots are found in the Father’s love and we allow Him to lift us up with wings, we find confidence in our true identity and strength for our inner being.
Paul’s beautiful prayer in Ephesians 3:16-19 is one that I often pray over myself and others. It says: that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory to be strengthened with power through His Spirit on the inside, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Oh, the power of praying God’s Word back to Him and agreeing with it until it resonates deeply and is made manifest in our lives! If the essence of worship is agreeing with God about who He is and what He says, what an invitation we have to live lives of worship as we choose to agree with Him about His nature and His affections towards us! There are riches to be found in beholding His glory. I am reminded of Moses as He cries out to see the glory of God. He is in a desperate place, unsure of his leadership role, and uncertain of his future. He says, “I must see You, God, in my day, in my time!” Here we see Yahweh demonstrating His brilliant glory by declaring His name and nature to Moses. In essence He says, “I am a good God! I am not like you, I am gracious and compassionate, and I am rich in love!” We as New Testament believers have access to this same “rich love”, and it’s according to these riches that we should be strengthened on the inside. Our faith is bolstered in strength when we declare with our lips and agree with our heart the truth of God’s nature, His name, His love, His glory! Our roots sink down deep in His love and there is an invitation for us to take in the incalculable measurements of that love. This is a love that can’t be shaken, broken, or taken. It’s a love we won’t fully comprehend on this side of eternity and can’t even exhaust in the life to come. It goes beyond our knowledge and yet our Father doesn’t withhold the fullness of His nature in our day and our time. When our roots go deep in His love we are strengthened and gain confidence in our true identity as daughters of a good, good Father who is rich in love!
Isaiah 40:31 says, "Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary." What beautiful imagery and poetry Isaiah gives us! This verse is one that spoke powerfully to me when my dad battled cancer. I had one month from my dad’s diagnosis of cancer to his passing. There were moments in that season when I felt so heavy and my breath nearly taken from me as I crumbled in grief, but the Holy Spirit would break in and I could feel myself being lifted up ‘on wings like eagles’ above the current circumstances and my heart, mind, soul, and emotions strengthened. When our emotions and bodies become weakened by circumstances, His power can be perfected. It is such good news that no one who waits upon the Lord or hopes in Him will be put to shame. No.One. No matter the outcome, no matter our condition in the midst of the storms of life, He remains the same. He is the faithful One, the Rock upon which we can put our hope and trust in and He will mount us up on His wings. He will lift us up and strengthen us! What better wings to soar on than the wings of the One who never gets weary or tired? He lifts us up above our fears, our uncertainties, and our small paradigms. What once seemed impossible turns to joy as He lifts us up above our enemies and we see the accuser underneath His feet. We will soar above that which once ensnared us in new found freedom and strength by the Holy Spirit. There is a promise of new strength if we will wait on Him and hope in Him.
Our roots as believers are established and grounded in the Father’s love. His love is the very foundation our lives should be built upon. Our history is wrapped up in the greatest of stories and He strengthens us along the journey. The wings we are given by the Lord lift us up above our fears and insecurities and release us into freedom and destiny! I believe there is an invitation for all of us to be strengthened by the Lord as we wait on Him and receive His love that’s wildly high, immeasurably long, immensely deep, and unfettered in width. As believers we can be assured that our Redeemer offers us the richest roots and most glorious wings.
Prompt: Take a few minutes and pray these two passages over your life. Make the language of the scripture personal. Begin to declare the truths given in the scripture over your life. Sing a worship song or listen to a song that includes language from these scriptures (‘Strength’ by Melissa Helser, ‘Everlasting God’ by Chris Tomlin, ‘Never See the End’ by Amanda Cook, etc) or create a new song! Invite the Holy Spirit to give you a picture of the Father strengthening you by His love. Wait for His presence and ask Him to show you how He is lifting you up above your current fears or past failures. Allow His truth to wash over you and His love to strengthen you!