"Lord, do you have anything for me right now?" I asked as I leaned back into the sofa, making myself comfortable for a few minutes focused on the Lord. "Anything you want to share with me, I'm all ears."
Before I even had a chance to nestle into a comfortable position came a gently spoken answer, "Can a duck walk?"
My first response was a startled "What was that?" My second was a temptation to blame it all on pizza (of which I hadn't had any, unfortunately).The third was a gentle knowing that here was a riddle worth working out, that Jesus wanted to tell me something, but I wasn't going to get to the answer without digging in and waiting on the Him for the answer. I am slowly learning that when I turn to the Lord to communicate with him, to hear from him, any thoughts which come are worth checking out, regardless of how bizarre and seemingly meaningless or pointless they seem to be.
As I suspected when I started, this one was not easy. For the life of me I couldn't make heads or tails of it. Any answer to this bizarre question, "Can a duck walk?" sounded either foolish, meaningless, trite or superficially religious. And it sounded too much like the age-old question, "Does a duck have lips?" for me to want to take it seriously.
I wrestled back and forth with the question until I started to despair that there even was an answer and that I'd missed recognizing the Lord's voice after all. Finally I just whispered in my heart, "Holy Spirit, if this is from you, you'll have to explain it to me. I have no idea."
Slowly an understanding began to grow in me.
A duck on land is out of its element. A duck on land does not walk, it waddles. It is ungainly, ungraceful and slow. A duck was not made to walk, it was made to swim and to fly. When it flies it stretches its neck out, tucks its legs behind itself and becomes an aerodynamic flying machine capable of flying tirelessly for hours, for days, for thousands of kilometers. When it swims, it floats regally on the water, its webbed feet churning beneath it like an outboard motor on a motorboat. It can dive, it can float for hours, for days and never tire or even get wet. Its every movement is grace personified and it is dignified. Its in its element.
"From now on," spoke the Lord within me, "you not be able to look at a duck on land without seeing a boat on skinny legs instead. Because that is what a duck is. Look at its shape! Is it not just a boat with a neck, tail and legs? It has the general shape of a boat. It is made to navigate the waterways, not compete with roadrunners."
In the same way you were created as a new creation for a specific environment. You were created to float on water, which is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. When you abandon yourself to be carried along by the Spirit, you are graceful and fully within your element. When you rise up to soar on the wind (also the word for "spirit" in the original text) you can achieve great things. But you were never intended to walk alone, separated from the wind and water which carries you.
In other words, son, you were created for the specific environment of being "in Christ." When you are connected with a heart awareness of me, when you are living out of your true identity of being a part of Christ, an extension of Jesus in this world, his arms and legs and hands and voice, then you can swim and soar.
When you walk with me through your day, you in me and I in you, then you are more than master for every situation, because we face them together. When you drift away from me and muddle through your day because you have either neglected turning to me or through stubborn insistence on your own way or through sin, then you are no longer walking, you are that duck which can only ineffectually waddle.
You in me and I in you. This is your natural environment.
So, the answer now to the riddle, "can a duck walk?" is:
No, it cannot!
(This situation came up during a family discussion about what it means to live out of a revelation of Jesus Christ. - for example, Paul said, "but when it pleased God to reveal his Son in me, I did not consult with any man but ...." and also, "I am as in childbirth for you all again until Christ is formed in you." Galatians. We are starting to see ever more clearly that not only our personal lives but also the life of the church can only be effective if it is lived out of this revelation.
As near as we can tell, this is more than just knowing about and understanding who Jesus is and what he did while on earth, more than just knowing him as Savior, Lord and Master. It is living in the awareness that we are the very body of Jesus himself, inextricably connected to and identified with him, so that we meet every situation out of the awareness that we are part of Jesus Christ. If we "see" this revelation and live out of it, then won't every gathering of the saints become an excited recounting of all the amazing things that God is doing in and through our lives? Both we and our church experiences would be transformed.)