Isaiah 40:30-31 “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
John Gillespie Magie Jr. was the son of a missionary and a fighter pilot for the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. He spent his last few months flying escort missions for bombers from the United Kingdom to continental Europe, and passed away on such a mission on December 11th, 1941. Before this 19-year-old hero lost his life, he penned a touching poem entitled “High Flight” that impacts many still today:
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air….
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
– Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
Portions of this poem adorn many headstones of fliers laid to rest at sacred locations as Arlington National Cemetery and was used as a part of President Reagan’s official statement as he responded to the loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger. As a tribute written to those who literally soar, Gillespie also reminds us that God wants us to figuratively soar as well.
We can touch the face of God when we allow Him to renew our strength and overcome our weariness. We can touch the face of God when we reach out for His hand to lift us whenever we fall. We can touch the face of God when we stumble and ask for His help to walk again. We can touch the face of God when we faint and rely upon Him to help us regain our strength. We can touch the face of God when we trust in his eternal vitality instead of our fleeting youthful vigor.
PLEASE PRAY FOR GOD’S HELP TO SOAR AS AMERICAN CHRISTIANS IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY. May we put out our hands and touch the face of God.