Sunday, January 27, 2008

Eagles Wings

Today Henry and I went with some friends from church to an Eagle viewing day at a power plant about an hour away. Security was tight--there were police officers and trained dogs inspecting the cars. It was pretty cool--the American Eagle Foundation did a "Birds of Prey" show, and showed several different types of birds, including owls, vultures, falcons, hawks, and eagles. We got there shortly before the show started, but were lucky to get seats fairly far up. When they walked the birds through the aisles and had some of them fly from one trainer to the other, they went basically to our aisle and stopped, so we had a fairly good view. Afterwards, we took a bus ride to a viewing site, and saw a couple of eagles across the river, in a tree.

While it was fun to see the birds in their natural habitat, it was cold and unimpressive to a five year old--all they did was sit in the tree. They did have hot chocolate and cookies at the next bus stop, as well as reasonably priced (!) souvenirs. Henry really wanted a shirt, and I also got an stuffed animal eagle, initially for Harmony...but Henry has completely claimed it as his own. He brought it to his bath tonight(to hunt for fish in the tub) and made a nest for it out of an upside down pirate hat, lined with one of Harmony's baby blankets.

It got me thinking about the analogy between the eagles we saw today and our faith, especially in the context of our Life Group discussion on Thursday. The birds we got to see up close and personal were ones that couldn't make it in the wild--either they had been so permanently injured that they wouldn't survive (such as Oseola, who lost a wing due to a gunshot wound) or they had imprinted with humans and lost their ability to hunt and make wise decisions about people. The ones that were free and able to hunt were far off and distant--I couldn't see them with my naked eye or even the binoculars I borrowed from another friend, and even if I had, I'm not sure I would have known they were eagles. And Henry's eagle was just a toy, a plaything under the command of a five year old.

All those eagles can be where our spiritual life is. Are you wounded so badly that you're living in captivity? Have you been so strongly imprinted that although you're healthy, you're stuck? Does God seem far off and distant, or just a plaything?

Personally, I think I've recovered from a spiritual "gunshot" wound over the course of the last year, and have been released back into the wild. The question is, can I remember how to feed myself? Can I figure out how to fly with a different wing?

God wants us to soar! Isaiah 40:31 says, "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." I think the key part of that is the first line--"those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength." To soar, you need to have hope, and have it in the right thing, or person--God, not your spouse, your job, your kids, or your stuff. It's probably not an instantaneous process--it takes a while to heal from the spiritual equivalent of a gunshot wound, but that doesn't mean healing doesn't come. You can be freed from the imprinting of this world--Romans 12:2 makes that clear. And if God seems far off or that he's just using you as a plaything (or vice versa), there's no better way to learn about Him than an up close and personal encounter--seek that out.

Thanks, Lord, for making majestic creatures like eagles. Thank you that we can soar when we put our hope in you.


Love Bears All Things said...

This was a beautiful post. I love your analogy. I think taking the wee ones to an event like this was brave.
Papa Bear and I went to an Eagle Awareness weekend one January. It was mighty cold treking out at sun up and sun down to see them leave and return to their nests. We had some informative speakers and a event such as you describe here where we saw different birds of prey. Henry's stuff eagle will remind him of the outing and it was an excellent teaching tool.
Mama Bear

Love Bears All Things said...
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Jen said...

Very cool! Glad you guys were able to go and have that great memory and picture to go with scripture.