This month I’m back in Michigan after a ministry trip to the state of Montana which is not a place I ever dreamed I would go! Its a land of mountains and prairies, of harsh winters and wild climate changes. The first time I visited, I was struck by the rugged beauty of a landscape that has been largely untamed by modern civilization.
On this particular trip, I was blessed to be able to take a boat tour of Holter Lake which was created by a dam on the Missouri river. Holter lake is a 25 mile channel of water with tall cliffs on either side. Lewis and Clark were the first people to see these dramatic rock formations and named them the ‘Gates of the Rocky Mountains’ in 1805.
I was thrilled just as Lewis and Clark must have been to see this wilderness for the first time. As our boat rounded a bend, I was even more thrilled to see a bald eagles nest perched on top of a tall tree! The parents were nearby guarding their young. The bald eagle is an endangered species in the United States, and most Americans have never seen one in the wild. For many people, the eagle has come to represent strength, courage, and freedom.
Even the Bible mentions the majesty of the eagle. Isaiah 40:31 says, “But those who wait on 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.”
How often that verse is quoted to encourage us that we can find strength to go on when we wait upon and trust the Lord. And surely, the eagles we saw looked like they were exerting no effort as they soared high above us! That day on Holter Lake, I learned that the flight of the eagle may not be as effortless as I once thought, however.
Our tour guide explained that the young eaglets learn to fly not because they want to but because they have to. The wise parents know that for their young to survive, they must learn to hunt and to protect themselves. For awhile, the parents do the hunting and feed their babies by mouth. But soon they begin to feed them less and less…not to starve them, but rather to make the hungry! For it is not comfort but hunger that will cause them to survive. Eventually, the young eagles will realize they must take a risk and leave the nest if they want to live. They learn to soar on the highest heights not because they are born that way, but because they had to take the risk and jump!! Soon, they are expert flyers and hunters just like their parents…displaying God’s glory doing what they were created to do.
As I watched the eagles soaring above me, I thought of that verse from Isaiah. God has made us to be renewed in our strength…not to be just surviving from day to day. He has made us to mount up with wings like eagles, to run and not be weary, and to walk and not faint.
But in order to soar, we must learn to trust, rely on, and seek after God. Like the young eaglet, I believe that, at times, God allows us to become uncomfortable in our nest, so to speak. We may feel dissatisfied and hungry with where we are in life. We know God has called us to higher things, but we are not sure how to get there!
Let me ask you a question. Are you soaring on wings like eagles today? Are you ruling and reigning in life and living at the level that God has called you to? Or are you struggling to keep your head above water, or perhaps uncomfortable knowing that there is potential within you that is being wasted. If that is you, I encourage you to take a leap of faith today.
Jump out of the nest of what you know you can do and who you know you are into the wind of who God is and what He can be for you.
Make a decision to commit yourself fully to the Lord today and to trust Him, wait on him, and believe Him. Ask him to be your strength and your life, and I know that with His strength you will learn to soar….above your bondage, above your limitations. Only in Christ will you become everything you were created to be.
Father, I thank you for the example of the eagle. Thank you for encouraging us that we do not have to feel controlled by our circumstances. when we give our hearts and lives to you, we can find freedom, strength and courage to rise above the things that press us down to become all that you created us to be, Help us to trust you fully and wait on You to be our strength today and every day. In Jesus’ name, amen.