I love eagles.
We live in a semi-rural area on the outskirts of Melbourne. When I took my first sabbatical back in 2012, on the very first day, Nicole and I were walking on a gravel road nearby and a huge wedge tailed eagle flew over our head and then up throught the trees. It was breathtaking. In the last few weeks, we have seen a pair of eagles soaring above our area a number of times.
There are many lessons we can learn from the eagle. God likens us to eagles (Isaiah 40:28-31) and Solomon gained a lot of wisdom and insight from studying God's creation (1 Kings 4:29-34). Here are my main points:
Embrace adversity. An eagle never runs from a storm. In fact, they thrive when the wind gets really strong. Eagles have been seen soaring in the midst of even a hurricane. It does not panic but merely rides the wind until the storm is over.
Every life experiences some stormy weather. Don’t panic; don’t be afraid; don’t run. Be still and know that God is with you in the storm. He will bring you through. Be patient – this too will pass.
Accept discomfort. A mother eagle makes a nest first with a layer of thorns, broken branches and sharp stones. She then covers this with fur, wool and feathers to make a comfortable bed in which to lay her eggs. Once the eaglets are born and ready to fly, they can easily become too comfortable - with a nice warm bed and 3 free meals a day! The only way to move them and get them flying is to make the nest uncomfortable, so the mother starts pulling out all of the soft lining so that the sharp objects start to cause some pain for her babies. Before long they are out of the nest and soaring the skies.
In the same way, God can use discomfort to disturb us and help us to mature and grow to our potential. After all, God loves to comfort the disturbed ... and disturb the comfortable.
Go high! The eagle flies higher than any other bird, having been seen at heights of up to 2000 metres above the ground.
God does not want us to see ourselves as above or aloof from people or so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good … BUT it helps to view our lives from God’s perspective, to see the big picture … and not get so caught up in the details of our lives that we miss what God is up to. Take a long walk outside into nature (go treeside or seaside) and you'll be surprised by how quickly your life gains fresh focus.
Look carefully. The eagle has incredible vision and keen eyesight. It can see up to distances of 5 kilometers.
God has called us to have great vision – to see the needs of other people around us and to see the opportunities for us to make a difference.
Experience Renewal. Each year, an eagle’s feathers are replaced over a period of months. Amazingly, no two adjacent feathers fall out at the same time, so that an eagle is able to continue hunting and is not disadvantaged in any way.
We too, as God’s servants need constant renewal – we need a sense of freshness and newness in our hearts and lives. By waiting on God we can experience this – without having to drop out of life or ministry. Our youth can be ‘renewed’ just like the eagles ... as we continue to engage in our God-given assignments.
Let's continue to soar like eagles!
P.S. For more insights from the eagle, see The Eagle Story.