The soaring technique of an albatross over the ocean is called “Dynamic Soaring”. Dynamic Soaring takes advantage of the difference in wind speed between the ground and higher up, which causes the bird to climb up facing the wind and heading back to the ground downwind. The wings are angled slightly, which allows the soaring bird to deflect the air downward and produce a lift.
Flapping-Wing flight in birds uses an altogether different technique. The wings flap with an up-and-down motion pushing the bird forward through the air. While doing that, the bird reduces the wingspan and partially folds its wings to eliminate the draggy outer part of the wing to maintain smooth cruising.
The difference between flapping and soaring is obvious: the former relies on the wind; the latter relies on the bird’s ability to manoeuver.
Yesterday I watched a documentary about conserving water. In arid areas with low rainfall, water becomes a precious commodity, not to be wasted. To that end, water has to be recycled to make the most of it. In most drought-ridden countries bordering the ocean, water plants are built to turn seawater into freshwater. Lack of water dictates prudence to be able to manage wisely the water resources that are still available.
The same scenario applies when we weaken and run out of steam. With our energy almost gone, we start managing our remaining strength in a different manner. In this context, Prophet Isaiah recommends soaring over flapping. Why? As opposed to flapping, soaring is a much more energy-efficient approach. And when we have come to the end of our rope, it is appropriate to think energy efficient.
We are only human and our strength will eventually deplete. God on the other hand never grows tired. Tapping into His power, we can carry on for a very long time, and this is in fact the moment we begin to soar. The wind of His Spirit carries us, and all we have to do is trust the aerodynamics of the Holy Spirit to carry us wherever we need to be.
Soaring birds can teach us a lesson or two: Faith lets us spread our wings wide while hope lets us soar. This is the spiritual reality of God’s children when they trust in the Lord and put their hope in Him.