On Eagle's Wings: Can Troubles Really Teach You to Fly?
- Rebekah Montgomery Editor, Right to the Heart of Women
- 2009 1 May
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
The Scriptures promise us eagle wings as we wait on God. What does that mean?
Fresh from the egg, the eaglet is covered with down that is excellent for insulation but useless as an airfoil. He must grow flight feathers before he can soar.
When we first trust Jesus, we often have "warm fuzzies." These wonderful, God-given emotions won't empower or sustain. Like flight feathers, faith matures by learning.
The desire to soar is inborn in the eaglet, but he doesn't know how. It is a learned skill. He tries. He stands on the edge of the nest and stretches his wings in response to winds gusts. Occasionally, a breeze lifts him. It's exhilarating and frightening. His fear is well placed. Nearly 40 percent of young eaglets do not survive their first flight.
Young Christians intensely love Jesus. They want to tell everyone about Him. But there is a very real danger: Their exuberant faith endangers established relationships, which makes new believers lose their balance.
By eight weeks, the young eaglet's attentive parents hunt almost continuously to feed him. Even if he could fly, he doesn't know how to hunt. He stretches to develop his wing muscles, but his heavy body keeps him grounded.
Hopefully, via mature Christians, the new Christian receives nourishment from the Word. They may not know how to study the Bible for themselves but regular receive teaching.
When the eaglet is between 10-to 13-weeks of age, the parents leave him alone in the nest. They hover, watching, as he experiences hunger that they do not gratify. He calls for food, but only rarely, do they supply a morsel. The youngster grows thinner, his demands for food more urgent. His parents seem to tease him. They fly past dangling a meal from their talons, which brings the young eaglet to the edge of the nest where he beats his wings and screams at his parents.
The proving of faith and lessons in patience now begins. For the first time, a young Christian may see the failings of more mature Christians. They may have doubts about God or the Bible. Problems may come into their life with the question: "Can I trust that God has my best interests at heart?"
Desperately, the young eagle picks at scraps from dry-up carcasses in the nest. Occasionally, he pounces, pretending to hunt the way he has seen his parents snatch prey off the ground.
In times of testing, we review what we have learned. We may re-examine the Scriptures for shreds of solace. We may question, "Are these things true? Was my experience with God real? Is God real? Does He love me? If so, why did He abandon me?"
Alone, shivering, and subdued, the eaglet awaits the morning's warmth. Seeking heat, he stretches his wings, rising above the nest-then landing safely in it again. Flapping experiments strengthened his wings as the days of hunger have lightened his body so he has much less weight to lift. He doesn't know yet-or even suspect-but he is ready to fly.
The loneliness of testing has a divine purpose we cannot guess. It forces us to slough off misconceptions and fantasies about God and turn our face to the Son. All that remains is trust: "He said it, therefore I believe Him. I cannot see His love. I cannot see His purpose, but I trust Him. I will obey Him whatever the outcome." At these times, we learn to wait upon the Lord by asking, "What do You want me to do?"
Riding the updraft-daring, luring him to fly-an eagle parent flies by, dangling a young rabbit. Stretching for food and lifted by the wind, the eaglet is suddenly airborne, truly flying for the first time in his life.
If you are patient, at the right time, the Holy Spirit will speak-via the scriptures, in your heart or mind, through other believers, or by ordering circumstances-and you will know what God wants you to do. You will learn to commit your way to Him.
The young eagle sails downward, contracting his wings in fear then extending them to catch the wind. He has a sudden realization-he knows how to fly!
Soaring on eagle's wings! This was God's purpose for you all the time! The time of testing has taught you patience-and how to fly!
Here to subscribe to the Right to the Heart mailing list
Rebekah Montgomery is the editor of Right to the Heart of Women e-zine, a publisher at Jubilant Press, and the author of numerous books on spiritual growth. She can be contacted for comments or speaking engagements at rebekahmontgomery.com