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.
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5 thoughts on “Soaring on Wings Like Eagles

  1. As a mother of 8 there were many times I felt tired. But my trusting in God He was able to get me through each day! Now I am able to enjoy my grandchildren.

  2. I am going through a difficult season in my life right now and am extraordinarily weary. Thank you for this blog…it has challenged me to renew my strength in Him. Thank you.

  3. I have had this post saved for some time and am finally getting around to it. This is one of my all-time favorites! Yes! My “wingspan” understanding of the significance of the eagle in Isaiah 40:31 has increased! Thank you! I will meditate on this and am already blessed by it today! Praise the Lord!

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