In a little-known animated Christmas special called A Wish For Wings That Work, we meet Opus, a little penguin who desperately wants to fly like a bird, but with his penguin wings, which aren’t much for aerial adventures, he’s bound by gravity. Opus even writes Santa Claus for help, but as the plot thickens, it’s Santa that needs Opus’ help. On Christmas Eve, Santa’s sleigh crashes in the middle of a frigid lake and neither the flying-reindeer or high-flying birds can offer any help; only a polar-penguin – with wings for swimming – can give him a tow back to land.
Are we busy asking for Santa Claus for flying wings we don’t have instead of thanking God for the swimming wings we do have?
In Isaiah 45:9, the Lord speaks to those who question the type of wings they’ve been given as He says, “Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’?” Of course, we’ve all done this, just as Opus questioned his wings, but have we stopped for a moment to realize the implications of accusing God of incorrect wing assignment?
In 2 Corinthians 9:8, Paul tells us, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” According to this, we are richly supplied to do every good thing God wants us to do. Whether we’re called to be swimmers or flyers, we’ve already got the correct wings.
Sure, it’s fun to dream about things way beyond us, and even to strive for them, but at a point, it does become harmful to want for ourselves what God has chosen for another. In the story, Opus was very depressed about his inability to soar with the other birds and had no joy in being God’s “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works…” (Ephesians 2:10) When we’re discontent with our own lot, we often respond by neglecting our lot and leaving many good deeds undone. We dream our life away, fantasizing about being a gravity-defying albatross when we could be busy doing penguin things!
It’s not in vain that God commands us in Exodus 20:17 to refrain from coveting anything of our neighbor’s. When we covet, when we believe the grass is greener on the other side, we inevitably neglect to care for the grass we’ve been given. Or when we believe another’s wings are more glorious than our own, we neglect to use ours. For instance, how many of us lament over our inferior athletic abilities while neglecting our ability to encourage others in Christ? Perhaps we long to be a better musician and fail to recognize we have a God-given knack for fixing things.
Despite our seasons of pity and self-doubt, God often gives us opportunities to shine using the wings we’ve been given – just as Opus experienced in saving Santa’s sleigh using his penguin-powers. There’s someone in your life that desperately needs you and the unique gifts you’ve been given – and that’s all according to God’s design. Let’s be thankful to God for the unique way He created us and pray for boldness to use the wings God gave us when those special moments arise.