The Ostrich

  • Feb. 13, 2018
  • #9337

Ostriches can't fly, but they still flap their wings joyfully. Likewise, if you have limited abilities, you can still joyfully serve the Lord!


Welcome to "Joni and Friends" and I'm Joni Eareckson Tada.

Don’t you love it when someone sheds light on a really obscure passage of scripture? I mean really obscure. Maybe you’ve read it a hundred times and it’s never really made sense. You figure it’s just one of those things God threw in there to sound poetic. Like Job 39, the 13th verse where the Lord speaks to Job and He says, “The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully, but they cannot compare with the pinions and feathers of the stork.” Okay, so is God just making a point about ornithology? Is this a study of birds or something?

Well, my pastor friend Bob Bjerkaas sent me this verse the other day with a fascinating little insight. Because if you were to consider what part of the ostrich is its most useless, inadequate, most inferior and embarrassing feature, it would surely be its wings. In Job 39, God tells us that the ostrich's wings are nothing compared to those of a stork. Yet, look at what that verse says: the ostrich flaps those useless, inadequate, inferior, and embarrassing wings with joy! Apparently, she couldn't care less how her wings compare to those of the stork. And I lovethat insight! Because, as we all know, it is the glory of a bird to flap its wings; when she does, it’s like boasting, like she’s proud of being a bird. But when an ostrich does that, doesn’t she know her wings are useless?! I mean, what’s there to boast about?

Well, I tell you, this really speaks to me in my disability! Because my legs are useless; my feet don’t walk; my hands don’t work – they are inadequate and inferior. But even though I’ve been given a set of ‘ostrich wings,’ as it were, I flap them joyfully. I boast in my affliction, like the Bible says. I delight in infirmity and glory in the limitation. What’s to boast about? Well, that God's power and strength rest on me, for His power is made perfect in weakness, right? And what’s more, like the ostrich, I have learned not to compare – just like an ostrich does not compare itself to the more excellent wings of the stork.

Pastor Bob shed light on this thing about comparison when he wrote, “Humans are sadly different. We tend to always compare the gifts we have been given to the gifts other people have. And so we begin to covet our neighbors' goods and begin to actually despise our own stubby useless ostrich wings. We hide them and keep them tucked away. We do not flap them joyfully.”

I love that! And what’s more, God concludes his ostrich lesson with another picture of joyful abandon when, in the 14th verse of the same chapter, He says, “Yet when [the ostrich] spreads her feathers to run, she laughs at horse and rider.” Yep, an ostrich may not be able to fly, but it sure can run! They say it can even keep pace with some horses. Wow, that is some speed! Which is so odd because birds are known to be good fliers. They should not be known for their running ability. But an ostrich is. An ostrich can’t fly… but she has another gift in which she excels. And in the same way, my body may not be very useful for the things it was designed to do, but my spirit runs. And I do so with joyful abandon! So, friend, let's stop comparing our wings and feathers to those of others, and get into the ostrich race! Let's spread whatever feathers the Lord in His grace and goodness has given us and run with laughter and joy – giving thanks to God who has wonderfully blessed us with gifts perfectly matched just for us.

Previously aired as Program #7769 on: 2/9/12

© Joni and Friends



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