Soaring on Wings Like Eagles

There are seasons in life when I feel tired…weary…and flat out exhausted. Working a full-time job (in ministry) …balancing my role as a wife and mother (of 2 energetic boys) …and not to mention adding 2 mischievous puppies in the mix (Lord have mercy!) …I can admit I am in a season of weariness.

Not the season I would like to be in when school is just about to let out for my kids. And so while most children are jumping with jubilation (expected of course) this mommy is trying to get a grasp on this quickly approaching summer break!

Have you ever had a season where you feel tired…weary…and flat out exhausted? Maybe you are in one now…like me.

Whether the weariness is from facing challenging circumstances…carrying heavy burdens…pushing through a painful loss or adversity…or just the busyness of life’s changing seasons…we all may find ourselves looking for some sort of boost…energy…and strength.

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. Isaiah 40:31 NIV

Yeah…sign me up for that! How about you?!

I have always loved this scripture because it has given me encouragement in times of weariness in my life…and it truly speaks to me right now in my current weary season.

What is so surprising is how many times I have read this verse over and over and over again and never really gave much thought about the symbolism of “soaring on wings like eagles.”

Have you?

Eagles are absolutely fascinating creatures and it’s no wonder why God uses this analogy of renewed strength and eagles in Isaiah 40:31. In fact, there are 33 references to eagles in the Bible.

Eagles are born with big, heavy wings. And part of the survival mechanism they are born with is that they have to learn to fly without actually flapping their wings. Why?

Because eagles can literally die if they expend too much energy flapping their wings during flight. So they have to learn to soar without flapping their wings in order to conserve energy. FYI…Flapping requires 20 times more energy than soaring!

The word soar means “to sail or hover in the air often at a great height; to glide”

So as a result, what eagles have to learn to do  very early on…in order to be able to soar without flapping their wings…is to wait for what are called wind thermals to come up on them.

A wind thermal is a big gust of wind that will rise up from the atmosphere.

As the eagle circles over the middle of a rising thermal, it will spread its wings and soar…allowing the warm air to lift it to heights up to 3 miles above the surface of the earth. Wow! That’s amazing!

By using the powerful strength of the thermal, soaring is accomplished with very little wing-flapping…thus enabling the eagle to conserve energy.

Long-distance migration flights are accomplished by climbing high in a thermal…then gliding downward to catch the next thermal…where the process is repeated.

And interestingly…eagles learn to wait for the thermals to come up on them. Sometimes they will remain perched for days before they can catch a good, strong thermal. Then they can launch onto and combine a mixture of flying and soaring to get them to where they want to go without using much energy. And thus they cover long distances relatively effortlessly.

But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired. Isaiah 40:31 AMP

I absolutely love the Amplified version of Isaiah 40:31.

You see…just as the eagle learns to wait for the thermal, we too must learn to wait (expect, look, hope) for the Lord.

Because just as it is the thermal that gives the eagle the strength to soar high above…it is the Lord who gives us the strength to soar through and above our challenges, burdens, losses, and changing seasons!

For the faithful there is no failure, and faith knows no weariness. Ellicott’s Commentary

Additionally, the eagle…unlike any other bird…has two sets of eyelids, one of which works like sunglasses.

So when a predator bird is in hot pursuit, the eagle can fly directly into the sun. As soon as the eagle flies into the sun…using its special sunglass eyelids…the enemy bird is blinded by the sun and loses the eagle in the blinding light of the sun! What a tremendous way for the eagle to overcome!

…they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]

And we too can overcome and keep soaring like the eagle when we fly directly to the Son and draw close [mount up] to the light of Jesus!

…the image is derived from the fact that the eagle rises on the most vigorous wing of any bird, and ascends apparently further toward the sun. The figure, therefore, denotes strength and vigor of purpose; strong and manly piety; an elevation above the world; communion with God, and a nearness to his throne – as the eagle ascends toward the sun. Barnes commentary

And so it is when we hope and wait for the Lord…that we will have renewed strength.

[We] will soar on wings like eagles; [We] will run and not grow weary, [We] will walk and not be faint.

Thank you Jesus!

Reflection Points:

  1. Have you ever had a season where you feel tired…weary…and flat out exhausted? Are you in one now?
  2. What is the cause of your weariness? Challenging circumstances…heavy burdens…a painful loss or adversity…or just the busyness of life’s changing seasons?
  3. Where do you seek encouragement and strength? Do you look to God and His Word?
  4. Are you encouraged by the Lord’s symbolism between the eagle and renewed strength? Does this give you a deeper understanding of Isaiah 40:31?

Action Points:

  1. We all have seasons when we may feel tired and weary. Even though it is important to seek encouragement and strength from our family and friends, it is most important that we seek God first and encouragement from His Word. (Matthew 6:33)
  2. God’s word is full of thousands of promises for you and for me! Isaiah 40:31 is only one of many scriptures we can turn to in our times of weariness. And when we dig deeper in God’s Word we can have a greater understanding of analogies and symbolism used by God…like the eagle.
  3. Just as the eagle learns to wait for the thermal, we too must learn to wait (expect, look, hope) for the Lord. Because just as it is the thermal that gives the eagle the strength to soar high above…it is the Lord who gives us the strength to soar through and above our challenges, burdens, losses, and changing seasons.
Advertisements

I Don’t “HAVE” To…I “GET” To!

When I was single I thought I was a pretty selfless person. Then I got married…and I realized how selfish I was.

Just when I began to think I was selfless again…I became a mother. And I realized just how selfish I really was…again!

A simple quick trip to the grocery store just doesn’t happen anymore when you have children of the ages 5 and 7 like my boys…well unless they stay home!

When you are married and especially when you have young children, your time is no longer your own. You can’t just easily jump in the car and meet a friend for coffee or get together with girlfriends for dinner.

You have to plan ahead and many times I find myself having to give my regrets saying something like… “I am sorry I can’t make it because I have to watch my boys that night.”

Not too long ago I read an article that really challenged my attitude and changed my perspective…not just about being a wife and mother but about living my life differently.

And it all stemmed from 3 words… “I have to…”

Now think about it…How often do you say these 3 words?

I have to work…

I have to wake up…

I have to make dinner…

I have to workout…

I have to watch my kids…

I am sure the list can go on and on and on…right?

The words “I have to” tend to create the attitude that what we “have to” do is a burden. But…

What if we don’t have to…but we get to?!

It’s a burden when you have to… but… It’s a blessing when you get to.

You see… the words “have to” conveys a negative attitude. It demonstrates feelings of weightiness, tiredness, being dragged down…more like an obligation. I HAVE to…

The words “get to” conveys a positive attitude. It demonstrates feelings of enthusiasm, excitement, joy…more like anticipation. I GET to…

Think of it like a child going to Disneyland. I can guarantee you that no child will say… “Mommy do I have to go to Disneyland?”

They are more than likely so enthusiastic and restless in anticipation that they shout with excitement… “I get to go to Disneyland!” And it truly is a blessing when you get to go to Disneyland…right? I know…I know a blessing for the kids…but we are talking about changing our attitudes and perspectives right?

A great biblical example of this attitude is seen in the relationship between Ruth and Naomi. To summarize…

Ruth was the daughter-in-law of Naomi. When both of their husbands died in battle, Naomi planned to return to Israel from Moab and encouraged Ruth and her sister-in-law Orpah to return to their mothers’ families. Orpah chose to go back to Moab but Ruth instead answered…

“Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” Ruth 1:16-17NIV

Ruth had a choice…She didn’t have to go to Israel with her mother-in-law Naomi but she got to go with her and because of her decision and her attitude…God truly blessed her. God allowed Ruth to remarry and give birth to a son named Obed who became grandfather to King David. Yes! The King David who is in the same lineage as our very own Jesus!

And because of the decision we made in accepting Christ as our Lord and Savior…we don’t have to be a Christian. We get to be a Christian!

What a privilege and honor to be a child of God and get to follow Him!

Do you view your relationship with Jesus as a burden? Even sometimes? Or do you view it as a blessing?

How is your attitude when it comes to pleasing Him and setting time aside to spend with Him? Does it feel like an obligation or an anticipation?

This is where the line gets drawn between having to follow rules and regulations…and getting to enjoy a relationship with Jesus. This is where the line gets drawn between legalism…and love.

Why is this simple change in words so important?

When we begin to change the words we use…our attitudes will change. And when we begin to change our attitudes… our perspective will change. Then our eyes will be more open to see more blessings in our lives…rather than burdens.

It’s a burden when we have to… It’s a blessing when we get to.

We don’t have to pray to God…but we get to pray. What a blessing to communicate freely with God Our Savior!

When you call out to me and come and pray to me, I’ll hear you. Jeremiah 29:12 ISV

We don’t have to study the Bible…but we get to study the Bible. What a blessing to get to know our Creator!

Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. Joshua 1:8 NLT

We don’t have to set time aside…but we get to set time aside to spend with our Lord. What a blessing to spend time learning and growing in our faith!

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7 NLT

We don’t have to go the church…but we get to go to church. What a blessing to get together and be encouraged weekly with other Christians.

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:25 NLT

We don’t have to give…but we get to give to God. What a blessing to sow into God’s Kingdom financially and impact others’ lives for Him!

Let each one give [thoughtfully and with purpose] just as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver [and delights in the one whose heart is in his gift.] 2 Corinthians 9:7 AMP

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. Malachi 3:10 NIV

Changing our words…changes our attitude. Changing our attitude…changes our perspective.

I don’t have to go to work…I get to go to work. What a blessing to have a job when there are many who don’t.

I don’t have to work out…I get to work out. What a blessing to be able to exercise when there are many who are physically unable.

And with my new perspective…I no longer have to watch my boys…I get to watch my boys! What a blessing that these little guys have been entrusted to my care and I get to spend time with them before they grow up and prefer to hang out with their friends…rather than their mommy.

Changing our words is certainly not easy but remember we don’t have to do it with our own strength…we get to do with God’s strength!

Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 1John 4:4 NASB

My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT

Reflection Points:

  1. How often do you say “I have to…”?
  2. Do you see how these 3 words convey a negative attitude in comparison to “I get to…”?
  3. Do you view your relationship with Jesus as a burden? Even sometimes? Or do you view it as a blessing?
  4. How is your attitude when it comes to pleasing Him and setting time aside to spend with Him? Does it feel like an obligation or an anticipation?

Action Points:

  1. We all may say that we “have to” do something out of habit and really not thinking about the specific weight that these words may carry. However, the words “have to” conveys a negative attitude. It demonstrates feelings of weightiness, tiredness, being dragged down…more like an obligation. If we replace “have to” with the words “get to” we can see that it conveys a positive attitude. It demonstrates feelings of enthusiasm, excitement, joy…more like anticipation.
  2. Many times Christians know it’s a blessing to have a relationship with Jesus but can sometimes feel burdened by legalism. When our relationship is filled with the attitude of following a bunch of rules and regulations, it can become a burden. We can begin to have feelings of guilt and shame and condemnation.(Romans 8:1) As Christians we should be obedient to God and His Word but it should be out of love and a desire to please our Father…not out of duty or obligation. And then we will be encouraged to see the blessings from our faithfulness.
  3. Changing our words is certainly not easy but remember we don’t have to do it in our own strength…we get to do with God’s strength! Pray and ask God to help you be disciplined with your tongue because there is so much power…positive and negative…in your words. (Proverbs 18:21) The more time you spend with Jesus…learning and growing…the more you fall in love with Him and be blessed to get to spend time with Him. And the less you will feel burdened and obligated that you have to spend time with Him!