Racing Toward Jesus Amidst Distractions, Troubles, and Worries of Life
What would our faith be like if our souls soared on like a noble eagle?
Last month the snows came in full force. The Colorado sun, usually so obliging, was blocked for days behind a frosty shroud. I am one of those people who goes batty pretty quickly unless I can get outside into the fresh air, even in poor weather. So, I geared up in my winter attire, a soldier heading into a battle against the elements, and set out for the mountains of Sedalia. I spent a lovely afternoon snowshoeing through the sparse forests and open plains. It was quiet out there in the wilderness. Only the deliberate whispers of my snowshoes moving across the terrain and my heavy breathing broke the silence. In the bitter cold, even the birds stop singing. Sometimes you can see them, little sleeping puffballs, tucked deep in the trees. The snow stopped falling, and at last the sun crept through the ether. All at once, the pillowy drifts of snow became heaps of minute diamonds. I blinked against the dazzling whiteness, and as I turned my gaze to the western horizon, something caught my eye.
It began as a bold black line, and quickly transitioned into two lines moving up and down. A massive bird! I stood breathless as the largest bald eagle I have ever seen flew right over my head. It moved with an otherworldly speed. His yellow feet and beak glowed like fire against the pale sky. My heart leapt in my chest as he came ever nearer me. So enchanted was I with this graceful creature that I tried to distract him, hoping he would circle me to investigate so I could get a better look.
I hallooed at him, waved my arms, made all sorts of clicks and whistles. The bird did not slow down, did not change his direction; he did not even glance at me with those astoundingly beautiful golden eyes! No, he kept right on course, as if all of hell and high water could not stop him.
I watched him–an arrow sailing through the sky–and I felt a bit sad; but also, inspired. As he flew away, I thought of Hebrews 12:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” (v1-3)
I wish I could be more like this eagle with its eyes set on the horizon. He was in it for the long-haul. The cold did not seem to bother him a bit, even when all the other birds were hiding away. He knew exactly where he was going, and he would not turn to the right or the left. When distractions came from below, he did not slow or change course. He did not even acknowledge said distraction—much to my chagrin! What a beautiful picture of how to race on towards Jesus.
When the troubles of this world chill me to the bone, I often want to hide away. When the worries of this life distract me, I often slow my gait. What would my faith be like if my soul soared on like a noble eagle? As James writes, faith without actions is a hibernating faith (James 2:17). But living faith moves on with great force. Living faith brought Abraham across deserts and into a land of promise. Living faith cut through the walls of Jericho. Living faith makes demons shudder, brings the dead to life, and stops the mouths of lions, because whoever lives by faith has Christ living in him. As we gaze upon the horizon stretched out before our eyes, let us remember how Christ pressed on for our sake. Let us run with endurance, as He did, until we reach the finish line.