11 As an eagle stirs up its nest, and hovers over its young; as it spreads its wings, takes them up, and bears them aloft on its pinions, the Lord alone guided him; no foreign god was with him.
Today, I want to discuss two aspects of God’s love for us, two qualities of our relationship with God of the several that are presented in this verse: Prompting us to grow and keeping us safe.
First, God wants us to grow spiritually, transforming from the worldly being that we so often identify with, into the spiritual being that we are. We are told, “You know how I brought you to myself….” That is a powerful description of how God feels about us: He wants us near; He wants our company and wants His Presence to be vividly apparent in our consciousness and is always with us. He wants us to imprint upon Him. When we stray, or get confused and take off on our own, God will gently call us and guide us back. He will bring us to Him.
That pretty much sums up God’s attitude towards us: He loves us and wants us near. He wants us to come unto Him. Christ says in Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
God was trying to explain to Moses that when he was sent into Egypt to lead the people out, he was not leading them to a new location; Moses was leading God’s people to God. God was bringing His children home. God sent Christ to capture our attention and bring us home. This is why it is so important to move frequently into prayer, both a formal time of prayer and an attitude of prayer in all our activities.
But at times we become complacent and lose our spiritual focus. Our Bible verse says that like the eagle, God will stir up our nest. When we start to sleep spiritually, God will wake us. It is sometimes a gradual awakening; sometimes it is sudden.
There are times when a parent eagle will flutter around a nest withholding food just out of reach of the eaglets, forcing them to flap their wings to reach their meal. This struggle helps them build strength and control over their wings. God uses struggles to strengthen us – our endurance, character, faith, and focus.
During the eaglets’ training, the parent eagles return less frequently to the nest. When they do arrive, they can thrash about and remove the comfortable feather-lining of the nest. This makes the eaglets uncomfortable, frustrated, and confused. This discomfort is intended because it motivates the eaglets to move out of the nest and trust their own wings to find another resting place.
God does this for us, as well. God lovingly provides Divine Discomfort for us, which forces us out of our worldly mindset and moves us toward trusting in our spiritual nature. I’m sure we have all felt bewildered, frustrated, and confused. It is not because God has abandoned us, it is because we are being guided to focus on God, trust God, and move toward God.
I have known people who pray over situations and have concluded that because there were obstacles in their path God did not want them to pursue that goal. I have never agreed with that conclusion. If we feel drawn to a goal, dream, or path, Spirit will create obstacles for us with the intention of strengthening us, teaching us, and preparing us for the next part of our journey. Our Divine Discomfort is not intended to impair us, but to empower us to overcome and move forward with a loving heart.
One of the major lessons human beings confront is to realize that we cannot control others or alter every situation. We can’t change the world, but we can change ourselves – how we react, respond, and think about something. No, I cannot change how someone votes, how they think, or whether they are going to cut us off on the highway. But we can change the way we respond. Things “out there” don’t change; our inner being changes. We change. As Wayne Dyer said, “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” We can’t always change what we look at, but we can change our self.
We do this by focusing on Christ, on love, and what God dictates, not on our ego and what the world dictates. We have very little influence on the world when we are controlled by the world. But no matter what, the world cannot keep us from loving, and when our hearts are right, then with Christ’s help – yeah, we can go ahead and change the world if that is what God wants of us.
There are going to be times when no matter what we do, we fall out of the nest; we stumble and make unproductive choices. We experience things that make us feel like we have fallen out of God’s good graces. But that is not the truth. The truth is that most of the time that we are experiencing hardship, we are suffering the consequences of our poor actions, or we are experiencing a learning situation. Can I tell you that they are the same thing?
For instance, when we make bad choices and are fired from a job, we are not being punished by God. We are experiencing the results of the choices we made, and we are encountering a learning situation. If we are attuned to Spirit, our challenges are seen as opportunities to do it again better. If we are not attuned to Spirit, we interpret the exact same situation as punishment from God.
God is always trying to save us when we fall; always swooping underneath us to catch us on the wings of love. But if we are not focused on God, familiar with God’s Presence in and around us, we fail to see the path to safety and peace. Closeness to Spirit breeds familiarity, which is why we spend time with God. The more time we spend in the presence of God, waiting on God, the more readily we see the wings under us.
We are told in Isaiah 40:31, “… those who wait for 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.” The eagle simile in this verse describes how God attends to our humanity. To wait on the Lord is to focus on God, trust in God, have faith in God. Psalm 27:13-14 says, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
When we wait upon the Lord our strength is renewed; we will soar on wings like eagles, and we will walk and not faint. In other words, when we move into prayer and experience the presence of God, we are filled with strength, courage, confidence, vitality, and hope. We are transformed and renewed as faith, wisdom, joy, peace, and love flow through us.
We are lifted by the Grace of God, just as the eagle is lifted when its wings catch the winds. The more we surrender to Spirit, letting go of our egoistic desire to control and manage our own lives, the more easily we ascend beyond the effects of our earthly journey. Spirit will lift our lives, thoughts, words, and actions. There is no indication that we are raised upon eagle’s wings to stay there. No, we are lifted so that we can continue doing as God guides us; we are lifted to see more clearly, stay in action, live, and be of service.
And like those eaglets, we are learning to fly: although we have leapt from the nest, or perhaps we are pushed…, we are not left alone to plummet to our death. No, God swoops in, captures us on His broad wings and raises us to ever higher levels. When we get tired, God is always near, ready to catch us, lift us, and carry us.
In Psalm 91:14-15 we read, “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.”
We cannot escape the challenges of life, but with God we don’t have to fear them or wonder if we have the strength to endure them or the courage to face them. When we come unto Christ, our burdens are lifted – the fear and exhaustion are relieved. God’s spirit is within each of us, and in Spirit there is only radiant, dynamic, ageless life and energy. By turning our thoughts to Christ, we stir up the nest of our worldly mindset to reveal the truth of who we are – a child of God.
In Exodus 9:14 we are told, “…I raise you up on eagles’ wings and bring you to Myself.” As we allow ourselves to be gathered up by God, love flows. We have loving and positive thoughts about God, about ourselves, and about everyone in our family of Spirit. The closer we draw to God, the more we can look upon the activities of humanity with love, compassion, understanding, and forgiveness. We are more and more grateful for our Creator and all of Creation.
My prayer is that we live a life of joy, courage, strength, peace, love, forgiveness, and service. I pray that we are fully aware that God is always with us, and that we are protected, guided, and are still in training. Above all, I pray that we know that we are loved, and that we are ever held in the palm of God’s hand.