An eagle is soaring outside my kitchen window. I stand by the sink with my hands in the bubbles and I watch him, dark wings, flash of white, large against the clouds. Beneath him runs the water and the fields and a mile of sky, and above him is everything that cannot be contained by this earth.
His silhouette catches my eye in the blue of the day. Only an eagle has wings like that.
In wide, lazy circles he rides the thermals up into the atmosphere, up so high, I imagine he’s feeling the joy of his making in the presence of his maker.
I watch him as the dishwater grows tepid. Circle…circle…circle. Great counter-clockwise movements bring him up over my house where I can no longer see him and back out over the Puget Sound where surely other eyes are watching him too.
The eagle’s wings remain steady the entire time. He does not use any effort to stay up in the sky. In fact, his wings hardly move at all.
I wonder how long the eagle can soar without actually flying. The minutes pass.
His tail feathers flick slightly for balance, and every once in a while, the eagle tilts his wings to keep from flying off into heaven. But he does not pump his wings even once.
With wet fingers, I flip through our bird book to the pages filled with beautiful raptors. I find out an eagle can fly 10,000 feet up in the air because he can spread out those great big wings and let the wind carry him up. He does not have to depend on his own strength to rise higher than all the other birds. He simply waits.
There’s probably a lesson in that for me.
I know in an instant I have been trying too hard. I have been muscling my way through this day, trying to make things happen because I forget that He is able.
Unexpected obstacles have thrown me off course. I have been beating my wings trying to catch up because it all seems so important and urgent
I am weary.
And I have not flown very high.
“Like a swallow, like a crane, so I twitter;
I moan like a dove;
My eyes look wistfully to the heights;
O Lord, I am oppressed, be my security.”
I am oppressed, yes, by my own fluttering. Those heights I long to reach? He is the one who must lift me there.
I long to soar like that.
Later that day, when the eagle had long since flown off, I crawl into bed with my Bible. Even with the reminder to wait, it has been a day of scrambling. “Pick a Psalm,” I say to my husband, “and I’ll read it to you while you get ready for bed.”
“Psalm 151,” he says.
He pokes his head around the bathroom door and smiles at me with a toothbrush in his teeth. “Okay, how about Psalm 147.”
I begin to read the ancient words and come to the ones the Spirit has been trying to speak to me all day.
“The Lord favors those who fear Him,
Who wait for His lovingkindess.”
I stop and read them again, and Jeff looks at me. “Wow,” he says, because he knows how hard it has been to fly today and how much we have wanted God’s lovingkindness to come without much waiting.
My mind goes back to the eagle, and I remember how he soared without effort on wings I could not see. I knew why he was circling so high above my head. A bird of that size needs to eat, and often. But the eagle’s size makes hunting an exhausting ordeal. It simply cannot support itself in flight long enough to get the food it needs to survive.
But God knows what the eagle needs. He created it in such a way that its very search for sustenance is dependent on a power other than its own. The eagle must wait on the wind to be lifted up. And the wind does not fail.
When the eagle is most in need, it is most able to rest in the provision God has already made for it. It can search without growing tired, it can soar without growing weary.
Beautiful words float into my head, words I know better than to have forgotten.
“Even youths grow weary and tired,
And young men stumble and fall,
But those who wait for the LORD will renew their strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not grow weary,
They will walk and not faint.”
Oh, to trust it to be true!
But today is a new day, and my hunger and need is just as real as it was yesterday. Only today, I am keeping my heart and mind on the One who can sustain me through my need.