My job as a mail carrier affords me the opportunity to drive around in the country as I deliver my mail. Out in the country, as opposed to the city, you have the chance to see some wonderful things – if you will take the time to notice. In our area of the country, during the winter season, we occasionally get the rare opportunity to see a bald eagle. They are, indeed, a majestic bird. One particular windy day, I was able to see an eagle as it soared in the sky. The thing that I noticed the most, was the effortless nature by which the eagle “surfed” the waves of the wind. The eagle was not so much searching for food, or just flying to fly around — what caught my attention was the fact that the eagle just seemed to be having fun (I wondered: do eagles do such a thing?!). Like a living kite, the eagle was using his wings to catch every nuance of the wind… soaring, turning, floating, circling… It just seemed to me that the eagle was caught up in the exhilaration of his God-given design. Clearly, he was made, by his Creator, to soar the skies – and, so it seemed, he was also made to enjoy this.
This eagle sighting got me to thinking… It seems that so often, the nature of life is to rob us of our enjoyment, to “ground us” and to cause us to slip (without awareness?) into survival mode. Our lives are more filled with “grinding out an existence” than finding the simple pleasure and enjoyment of our Creator’s design and purpose. For example: God gave us the ability to laugh, and yet, as we age, life often gets increasingly more serious, and we just don’t laugh like we used to. (Of note: Studies have shown that adults laugh only five times a day; whereas children laugh in the hundreds of times!) We call it being responsible. Or we may call it maturity. But I wonder if it really isn’t just a case of forgotten “wings.”
God said something amazing through one of His prophets, one day. He was speaking of what really gives life its LIFE! God said: “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles…” What God really seems to be saying is that there is a way for each of us to leave the stifling cares and the joy-robbing worries of this life down in the dust – and He provides a way for us to find an exhilaration in the liberating winds of His unending care. But we must choose to mount up. We must choose to leave the ground and to soar. We must lift our eyes up… and let His provision take us into the hope found when we escape earthly bondages and soar upon the winds of our freedom. There is genuine pleasure in soaring “on wings like eagles” – and God has provided us with these wings, when our hope is secure, and focused, in Him.
My wife shared another wonderful illustration of this truth (and another bird story!)… She was driving in our subdivision and noticed a bird in the roadway ahead of her. She slowed as she approached the bird, and as she got closer and closer the bird finally noticed her and knew that he needed to get out of harm’s way. But by this time, there was another car coming in the opposite direction (also slowing, also pleading with the bird to get out of the way!). But instead of using his wings to fly to safety, the bird just started running. It darted first one way, then the other (as it finally saw the other car!), then back in a couple of different directions (probably just out of desperation)! In the end, both cars were at a dead stop, as the frantic bird finally ran to the edge of the road, and off into the relative safety of the grass.
My wife observed that this was both comical (as the frantic bird raced around in all directions) and sad at the same time. The bird never used his God-given provision of wings – which would have carried him to safety without a single moment of peril.
How many times do we fail to utilize God’s abundant provisions for us?! We scurry around like frenetic birds as if we are absolutely forced to forge our path upon the ground – when all along we have been given the Divine ability to “mount up on wings like eagles” and discover the enjoyment and exhilaration of living in God’s goodness and Presence. He truly calls us all to see the fullness and wonder of the provisions of His goodness and love for us!
Of course, all this is not to say that we should shirk our responsibilities or forget our earthly duties (they ARE important). We should just keep in mind that we are not bound to the “ground” of this life – we have received God-given “wings,” and it is part of His plan for us to afford ourselves the privilege to soar like the eagle, high above all the mundane and oppressive worries of this life.