I’m going to let you into a little secret… I have always, always wanted to be like an Eagle. The ability to soar above the hustle and bustle of life, in quiet skies, knowing that nothing and no-one is going to try and come to spoil that peace, having literally a bird’s eye view of life, being able to see a much bigger picture from up there and yet pin-point where I want to go, all of that is what I really aspire to.
In reality of course I’m much more like a swan: all calm and serene on the surface, but having to work very hard underneath to maintain it!
The Bible uses an eagle as a picture of many things from a show of strength and awesomeness to the gentle compassion of God. One of the most well-known mentions of an eagle in the Bible is in Isaiah 40. The whole chapter is about the comfort of the Lord, the specific passage is:
27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
And speak, O Israel:
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
And my just claim is passed over by my God”?
28 Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 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.
In another version:
The Lord Gives Strength
27 You people of Israel, say,
“God pays no attention to us!
He doesn’t care if we
are treated unjustly.”
But how can you say that?
28 Don’t you know?
Haven’t you heard?
The Lord is the eternal God,
Creator of the earth.
He never gets weary or tired;
his wisdom cannot be measured.
29 The Lord gives strength
to those who are weary.
30 Even young people get tired,
then stumble and fall.
31 But those who trust the Lord
will find new strength.
They will be strong like eagles
soaring upward on wings;
they will walk and run
without getting tired.
The fact is that we only really need comforting when we are struggling with something. If you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll have read other posts which are aimed at encouraging those in pain of one sort or another. And you’ll know there are so many ways in which our enemy likes to make life difficult for us, whether that’s through illness, relationships breaking down, death of those we love, over-working, stress, fear, anger… I could go on!
The truth, my friends, is that we cannot soar like an eagle if we are carrying heavy burdens and boy can those burdens get heavy! And on reading that Isaiah passage again I saw something I hadn’t noticed in all the previous times I’d read it: “Those who wait on the Lord…” with ‘wait on’ translated as ‘trust in’ in that second translation. Waiting, it turns out, is a spiritual discipline. Not perhaps an obvious one, but all the people I know who are waiting right now (for a job, for a breakthrough in their marriage, for a partner to share life with, for full health to return, for the outcome of a big decision), where they are ‘waiting in the Lord’ their faith is growing. I spoke about this briefly in my previous post ‘The Thin Red Line’. But I want to just emphasise this: We cannot soar with heavy burdens because we need to give these burdens to Jesus. Allowing God to take control and trusting in him for every part of life is what that ‘waiting in the Lord’ is. Never an easy thing to do, but when we do get that right, and begin really trusting God for the outcome: not holding onto our own dreams; not closing your fist around a particular ‘thing’ that is when we really begin to wait, and in waiting in the Lord we can soar.