So for many long minutes we chatted of this and of that, mostly of family and all about the Lord's goodness. Then about her incredible battle with cancer. She called it a "gift", and again I was struck by how powerful such gifts can be as evidenced in this solitary life (and so many like it).
We pray them away, these battles. We seek miracles to be rid of them. We confess they are not of God, and certainly not for us. We deem them to be the work of our arch enemy. We rail against them; and sometimes we rail against God.
But there it was, her confession that this hideous battle has been and has become a gift. How does one account for that?
This evening I read the following piece from my Streams in the Desert Devotional. It frames perfectly what she described, and I will forever envision her now with wings.
You wear them elegantly, Elaine. I saw you in them today, and your soaring is simply amazing.
“They shall mount up with wings as eagles” (Isa.40:31).
There is a fable about the way the birds got
their wings at the beginning.
They were first made without wings.
Then God made the wings and put them down
before the wingless birds and said to them,
“Come, take up these burdens and bear them.”
The birds had lovely plumage and sweet voices;
they could sing, and their feathers gleamed in the sunshine,
but they could not soar in the air.
They hesitated at first when bidden to take up
the burdens that lay at their feet, but soon they obeyed,
and taking up the wings in their beaks,
laid them on their shoulders to carry them.
For a little while the load seemed heavy and hard to bear,
but presently, as they went on carrying the burdens,
folding them over their hearts,
the wings grew fast to their little bodies,
and soon they discovered how to use them,
and were lifted by them up into the air–
the weights became wings.
It is a parable. We are the wingless birds, and our duties
and tasks are the pinions God has made to lift us up
and carry us heavenward.
We look at our burdens and heavy loads,
and shrink from them;
but as we lift them and bind them about our hearts,
they become wings,
and on them we rise and soar toward God.