Walking on a pier that meanders along the edge of a bay is a great way to begin a day. On this day, the still water reflected the rising sun, and the air had yet to take on the heat of the early summer day.
As I walked, I noticed a sea gull walking on the pier ahead of me. Walking? Why was he walking? Seagulls can fly. Interest piqued, I followed him.
As I drew closer, he glanced back at me and picked up speed, but he still didn’t take to the air. Curious, I continued on and so did he.
When I walked faster, he walked faster, although there is a limit to speed when your legs are only five inches long. When I slowed, he slowed.
Periodically, he peered back almost frustrated that I was still there. I kept thinking, “why won’t this bird fly?” He was probably thinking, “why won’t she go away?”
I strolled leisurely; he scurried – unlikely partners for a morning stroll.
Our walk continued until finally the end of the pier was near. If I kept walking, would he stop at the end, or would he do what he was made to do — fly? Stretched out from the end of the pier, a vast expanse of water beckoned.
We reached the moment of truth. About ten feet from the end of the pier I paused, and he hesitated at the edge. Then with one final glance back at me, he soared.
I watched in wonder. Why did he have to be pushed to the edge before he took advantage of and put into practice his amazing innate abilities. This particular pier was about a quarter of mile long, so he had been walking, scurrying, for a while. I can’t pretend to know the mind of a seagull, but I have to think he was comfortable on that pier. Maybe he was looking for an easy breakfast from an early morning fisherman’s catch. Perhaps he was hoping to hang out with a few friends, you know, like a seagull coffee club. Or, in his experience, maybe sitting was safer and preferable to flight.
But, when pushed to the edge, pressed to his limit, he flew. Taking full advantage of his abilities, his muscles, his power, he did what he was created to do.
So, here I was on this pier, seeking solace, seeking escape from the pressures of the day that lay ahead, seeking rest. Not much different from that seagull. Were the very pressures I faced an impetus to push me to use the skills that God has given me? Maybe He was thrusting me out of my comfort zone, off the end of the pier, into the vastness of His plan for my life.
Just like the seagull, I had a choice. I could continue to scurry and glance fearfully back. Or, I could choose to take flight, using the wings He has given me.
I admit I like the pier, but the perspective from the sky is astoundingly more beautiful and satisfying.
Luke 5:3-5 3 Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” (ESV)
Jeremiah 29:11 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (ESV)