Kite-Like People, String-Like Faith

She might take her coat off
Tell you that she’s gonna stay, yeah
Lay you down and float off
She’s a kite like girl, you gotta let her fly away, hey
Let her fly away
She’s a kite like girl, you gotta let her fly away, hey

— “Kite Like Girl” by Gavin DeGraw

I fell in love with “Kite Like Girl” by Gavin DeGraw the first time I heard it. In it, the “kite-like girl” is like a kite because she is free and unpredictable. She can’t be tied down, so “you gotta let her fly away.” You have to let her do her own thing if you want to keep her in your life.

Remember the song “Hey Yah” by Outcast? It introduced the catch phrase “shake it like a Polaroid picture”. It also made the charts just before Polaroid cameras went off the market, but long after airflow and motion have anything to do with development time. Shaking a Polaroid picture accomplishes nothing – but it’s a great song!

“Kite Like Girl” has a similar logic flaw. The girl is wild and free, ready to disappear without notice, and “you gotta let her fly away“. But that is not how a kite works! A kite flies only so long as someone holds the string and pulls it against the wind. Let go of the string, and the kite falls. You cannot “let” a kite fly away; you can only let it fall to the ground, into trees, or into power lines beneath where it flies. Let go of the string, and the kite ceases to fly. In the wind without the string, it’s a tumbleweed. But hold on to the string, and it soars!

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the Lord
shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.

— Isaiah 40:28-31

We are “kite-like” too, but we know how a kite works. There is wind, which threatens to blow us away like tumbleweed, and there’s the string, which someone has to hold. We need someone unaffected by the wind, unmoved by the storms of life. We need God, the solid Rock, holding onto that string.

We need a string. We need something to keep us connected to the Rock. No matter how far we fly, we need to feel that tug against the Rock. Something light and flexible has to keep us connected. We need faith.

We need more than just an anchor and a string to soar as kites. We need the wind! We need the storms of life to challenge us, lift us up, to push against the pull of the string. We need the troubles that try to push us away from God. Because by pulling us through and against those troubles, God knows we will soar.

They shall mount up with wings like eagles. That is not the picture of an eagle running across a plain, flapping her wings. That is a picture of an eagle standing on a cliff, spreading her wings, testing the wind and, when the time is right, effortlessly riding the breeze.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.

— John 15: 1-4

Here in South Florida, our soaring live oaks need windstorms to break off dead, weak and small branches. An oak that survives the windstorm is stronger and better prepared for the next storm, or even a hurricane. I understand there are conifer trees in California that need the fire to open the cones and release the seeds. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. God uses the wind, the struggles in life, to make us stronger, to prune off the deadwood and better prepare us for the next storm.

God is the Maker. God makes the kite, so God knows how kites work. He makes the eagle and teaches the eagle to ride the wind. The eagle can’t soar with out the wind. We can’t soar above the wind, above those troubles in life, unless God holds tight to the string. And the string, our faith, needs to stay strong. It needs to keep us connected to God. Otherwise, we drift like tumbleweeds, or struggle like grounded eagles on a windless day.

We’re a kite-like people with string-like faith, soaring above wind-like troubles and soaring higher because of them. We can break the faith if we wish, forget about the Anchor that holds us on the other end of the string, let go, break the string. For a short time, we are free! But we are not soaring; we are drifting to the ground. Instead of reveling in our freedom, we should be bracing for a rough landing.

Believe me, I know that it is a struggle to fly above troubles, to hold tight to that string. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength. So hold on. Give God time to work. Don’t struggle against the string or fight against the wind. Let the string pull you through the wind, and let both take you higher, above trouble, just as the Kitemaker intended.


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