Our seven-year-old Annie Rose was learning to ride a bike. Struggling to stay sunny-side up, she’d weave between trees and parked cars like a drunken sailor as I shouted, “Look OUT! Don’t run over Mr. Rude’s leaf pile!” (A coveted landmark of our neighborhood.) and, “Pedal faster!” Of course, to her little mind, if she couldn’t control the bike going slowly, how could the answer be, “Pedal faster!”? But she obeyed, and it worked.
This epic screen classic plays in my mind: Anna stays upright the length of one block and back. She dismounts starry-eyed, like an astronaut returning from the moon, waving to her cheering crowd of one. Together we ride to the park. She pedals her little Kermit the Frog legs to break the sound barrier. Her blond curls, an aerial banner proclaiming, “Land of the free! Home of the brave!” Her face radiates joy and amazement at doing the undoable; she’s discovered what aviator John Gillespie Magee meant when He penned these words:
“…I have slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced the silver skies…”
There is an Annie Sensation that occurs in the spiritual realm. That glorious freedom: running in obedience to God. David says to the Lord in Psalm 119:32,
“I run in the paths of Your commands, for You have broadened my understanding.” Sometimes I think, “How can I run in His paths when I can’t even walk in my own?” But when I trust that He knows even more than stuff like “pedal faster”, and I do what He says in His Word- not partially, but wholly- He broadens my understanding to the aerial view, and I “slip the surely bonds of earth…”; the surely bonds of self.
A true Free Spirit is one led by the Holy Spirit. And like the writer of “High Flight”…
“… I Put out my hand and touch the face of God.”*
* Read the poem and the story behind the writing of “High Flight” by aviator John Gillespie Magee. It’s a great depiction of our life in Christ.