Zechariah 4:6, Isaiah 40:29-31

David Hellyer reflects on the importance of relying on God's Spirit, rather than our own strength.

David Hellyer
David Hellyer

One Sunday afternoon last summer I took my family up Devil's Dyke for a stroll and to fly my son's kite. We live near the south coast so it's not far, and when the weather is nice it's such a spectacular place to visit, with the wide stretching views across the rolling green countryside to the north and the sea to the south.

If you've never visited Devil's Dyke, the first thing you'll notice when you reach the car park at the top is the paragliders - they're everywhere! It's crazy to see the number of people who go paragliding off the top of Devil's Dyke. My sons found it so exciting to see them flying just above our heads and all around us.

When we were there the sun was shining and the sky was full of paragliders the whole time. On the hill top there must have been about 30 people waiting to take to the skies. Circling above us there was never less than 15 paragliders circling the whole afternoon, at one point I counted 21 in the air at once.

It struck me as I was watching the paragliders soaring above me that they were all flying without any means of propulsion. In fact the only thing that was getting these various craft in the air was a combination of thermals and their timing and positioning. By themselves paragliders can't go anywhere, but if they set themselves up in the right place at the right time, then they are able to catch the thermals and soar up into the sky.

You could watch the groups of paragliders standing around and watch the windsock at the top. Watching and waiting for the wind to be right and for there to be a space in the air above them. It made me remember that famous verse from Zechariah 4:6, 'This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: "Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit," says the Lord Almighty'.

Those paragliders cannot fly under their own strength, they are totally dependent on getting their lift from the thermal air rising up off the side of the hilltop. This is the same way that birds of prey fly. Taking advantage of the air currents, rather than beating their wings at 100mph and getting in a fluster. Isaiah 40:29-31 encourages us to 'soar on wings like an eagle'. I think this scripture is making the same point about our need to rely on the wind of the Spirit to lift us up rather than depending on our own power or strength.

So whatever you're doing today, take the time to position yourself to be waiting on the Lord. Let Him lift you up.

See the video David made of that day at Devil's Dyke.


The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.