A friend of mine made me a tempting offer: “If you ever want to go somewhere in the region, let me know and I will fly you there in my plane.” The day came when I needed to make a quick trip that was a little out of driving distance for the two days allotted on my schedule. We took off from the local airport about midday and flew east.
We were fighting a head wind even as we were climbing to altitude. Being in the cockpit gave me the advantage of knowing more than I could know sitting back in the passenger section of a commercial flight. I could tell things like our rate of climb and our altitude, plus our groundspeed. It suddenly hit me that we were climbing pretty fast, but our ground speed was a snail’s pace compared to what we would be doing once we leveled off.
This reminds me of one of my great fascinations: hawks in flight. We live in an area where I frequently see hawks soaring, ready to dive down to the small animals that make up their diet. I am aware of their keen vision, but the marvelous thing about these birds is the way they soar for long periods of time without flapping their wings. I am totally captivated by how they can seemingly hang in mid-air, hardly moving. What’s their secret? Resistance!
Resistance is what caused our rate of climb to be so high that day in my friend’s plane. The wind in our face, coupled with the pull of the props, allowed us to get to altitude very quickly. If you had seen us from the ground, though, it would have looked like we were hanging in mid-air.
The very force that threatens to drive us back and stop our progress can actually lift us up!
It’s important to remember this principle as we read the Christmas story. Even as God came into the world as a flesh-and-blood baby, a huge wind of resistance began to blow against Him. Fierce resistance was pitted against relentless love. Again and again, the enemy of our souls shows himself in various forms, always trying to bring down the Christ and stop love’s relentless march.
What does this resistance accomplish? I think you know, but still hope you will join us at Stone Ridge Church as we talk about it. Part 2 of “Relentless” is this weekend! If you can’t make it, catch the podcast!