In 2006, Bette Midler popularized the heart-rending song, “Wind Beneath My Wings,” heralding a quiet, unassuming hero of extraordinary strength and humility – a steadfast background character secure enough in his own skin to simply be – attracting no attention to himself. I have often thought how much like Jesus that character was: staying in the shadow of our personal lives, gifting and empowering us, while we receive the glory for our accomplishments.
In contrast to the admissions of this song, have we become so accustomed to the Lord’s gentle, quiet Presence that we’ve become dismissive of it? Are our talents and capabilities so much a part of our “normal” that we now “own” them, taking credit as if we had produced them ourselves? Are our successes and our financial status reflective of who we are, or who we are not?
The shift in our thinking to claiming credit creeps in as slowly and as surely as the movement of a glacier. We’re not aware of the movement, yet the downhill drift is carving a new landscape where relationship with Jesus has been replaced with altruistic giving and good deeds. All the while, we continue to think and believe we are “good” people, for we have the physical evidence to back it up. Because we’re now so busy doing life with all its responsibilities, we relegate our time with the Lord to Sunday morning, and limit our knowledge of Him to whatever teaching comes from the pulpit. We continue to be “good” people because we have done our due diligence with our time, and we demonstrate our Christianity through our good works.
The ancient people of Moab received a devastating wake-up call when Jeremiah prophesied the destruction of their nation with the following words, because of their insolence against God: “Flee! Run for your lives…Since you trust in your deeds and riches, you too will be taken captive…” (Jer 48:6-7) It is no coincidence that the country of Moab does not exist today.
Fast forward hundreds of years to when Jesus entered the world as a baby and changed everything. His life taught us how to live. His death redeemed us from the quagmire of our lifestyles, forgiving us for our pride and arrogance. His return to Heaven to take His seat at the right hand of the Father left us with the precious Holy Spirit to guide and instruct, strengthen and empower us in all we do. Yet, as Lord of all Creation, He is gentle and unassuming, even to taking a background role that permits us to choose in what or in Whom we will place our trust. Who of us can honestly say we have allowed Him to be the very Wind beneath our wings?
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the Name [the Person and Character] of the Lord our God.” (Psalm 20:7)