From where I sit, I can see the sky. As I look, there are two beautiful eagles circling way above every other bird. Strong, powerful creatures that fly as much with confidence as with elegance, and seem to own the air that they live in.
Our property is often nick-named ‘Eagles Ridge’ or ‘Eagles Rest’ by family, as it seems to be a favourite place for two of these amazing birds to catch the up-draft. As powerful as they are, once they reach ‘lift off’, they begin to soar, gliding as high as 2000metres into the sky, where they rest on the winds that carry them without even so much as a beating of a wing for up to 90 minutes. (http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/animals/TheWedgetailedEagle.htm)
Eagles have one partner in life and around mating season, perform amazing aerial acrobatics. One such display, is when the eagle plummets at an incredible speed from a great height towards his mate, but quickly lifts just before he reaches her. She then turns onto her back in mid-air and they lock talons (claws), flying in death-defying aerial loops together. (http://billabongsanctuary.com.au/native-animals/birds/wedge-tailed-eagle/)
Leaning into the updraft
Challenges are a big part of life. My husband and I recently celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. I am happy to say we are still very much in love. On reflection, during the course of our marriage we have had times when we have soared to the heights of eagles with a seemingly clear view of what lay ahead of us, and we have had times when we have had to ‘lock talons’ so to say, and fly together on whirling rollercoasters of uncertainty and plummeting descents. Thankfully the up-draft has always caught us and we have been able to lean into it and glide, knowing that God is allowing us to rest on his strong and guiding winds when we know it is not in our power to do so.
The Old Testament of the Bible tells us of some pretty big challenges the Israelites had to face. A major challenge for them was to trust God to take them out Egypt where they had been slaves and oppressed for many years. God himself took up the fight and delivered his people away from their oppressors with many mighty miracles where the hand of God was unmistakable.
‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ (Exodus chapter 19 verses 4-6)
As God’s children, we are his treasured possession and he wants to carry us, he wants us to lean into his strength and let him take up the battle on our behalf. So often we try to do things in our own strength: we strive to fix problems; we toil to provide for our families; we want to be the fixer of relationships. Toiling in our own strength will only make us weary.
In Isaiah chapter 40, God reminds us to fix our eyes back onto him and remember who created the earth and who sits enthroned above the circle of the earth. He wants us to remember how powerful he is.
‘“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.’ (Isaiah chapter 40 verses 25-26)
He also wants us to know how tenderly he loves us too.
‘He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.’ (Isaiah chapter 40 verse 11)
He knows that life makes us weary at times and has these words of hope for us:
‘Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.’ (Isaiah chapter 40 verses 30-31)
Originally published for Christian Today Australia 1st September, 2015
(c)Rebecca Moore 2015