I’ll Fly Away

Want to Fly Away?

Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. Psalm 36:8

Albert Brumley was picking cotton one day under a scorching sun and humming a popular tune–“If I Had the Wings of an Angel.” Maybe he stood erect for a minute or two to stretch his back or adjust the 10-foot long cotton sack he dragged behind him. Brumley, 24, needed the job so he could buy food each day.

As he hummed the song, the phrase “If I had the wings of an angel, Over these prison walls I would fly” gave him the idea for a gospel song. Creeping down the cotton rows, he began to compose the lyrics to “I’ll Fly Away.” The song, of course, speaks of flying away to Heaven, but Brumley admitted years later, “I was actually thinking about flying away from the cotton field.”*

I can understand that. Cotton picking was a grueling task. For 10-12 hours a day, workers bent low to pluck cotton balls from the dry, brittle bolls that lacerated their fingers. Who wouldn’t want to fly away from that?

I imagine gleaning barley in biblical times was equally arduous. In the second chapter of Ruth, Naomi sent her daughter-in-law Ruth out to the fields because they needed food. Maybe Ruth wanted to fly away, too, but God’s perfect plan for her life included some “bent low” days in Boaz’s barley field.

What good will God bring out of your “bent low” days?  You may never know this side of Heaven. But Paul, who was often bent low with a bruised and bleeding back said, “Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all ” (2 Cor. 4:17).

I think Ruth the Moabitess and Albert Brumley would both agree. “Bent low” days were not the end of their stories. “Bent low” days won’t be the end of our stories, either. So stand erect and stretch your weary arms toward heaven because God has already written the “happily ever after” ending for our lives.


Boaz became Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer, a type of Christ (see Isaiah 59:20).  To learn more about the Law of the kinsman-redeemer read Leviticus 25:25, 47-49.

The Hebrew verb ga’al, is translated “redeemer.” See Genesis 48:16, Exodus 6:6, and Job 19:25 for early references to God’s identity as our Redeemer.

Ruth’s name and three other women’s names appear in Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew. What similarities exist between these women’s lives?

Read more about Albert Brumley at http://www.brumleymusic.com/Bio_-_Albert.html 

Denise K. Loock

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