Eagles can be pushy parents. They don’t let their little ones lollygag in laziness for long. There is a time when those itty bitty baby birds need to grow up and the eagle, perhaps more than any other creature, is the Shah of shakedown when it comes to moving her little ones towards maturity. We often talk about pushing our children out of the nest, a term drawn from the actions of this fine feathered fowl. But lest, we simply set this matriarch aside on the shelf of mean moms let us pause to consider several of the truths which surround the process of parenting that she displays.
Yes, she stirs up the nest when it is necessary. Her youngsters won’t be sleeping in long and we won’t find them going down in the annals of history for getting the high score in “angry birds.” Eagles learn to soar and they don’t get there by doddling in the den. Mama knows they must get a move on and God has created her with an amazing characteristic of not only protecting and providing for her offspring (as do so many of the best beasts) but also of educating them in the finer things of living life to the fullest. Just as “if a man will not work, neither let him eat” so she recognizes that if a bird stays in its nest it will never gain what’s best! So, when the time is right she prods and pushes until her minors are forced to take a major move out into the world of the wild blue yonder.
Sometimes, growing up is not a thing that they – nor we – want to do. There’s a lot of Peter Pan syndrome in all of the creatures of this fallen world and sometimes we need a good swift kick in the gluteus maximus to get us to progress our posterior. Mother Eagle shows us how to properly boot the babes!
Yes, she knocks ‘em out of the nest, but she doesn’t leave them to fall, flail, nor fail. She, the one who stirred up the nest, hovers over those who once inhabited the nest. She cares for her heirs. While they begin to explore their newly forced freedom she is close by and spreads her wings about them going so far as to catch them when they plummet too near harm’s way. She actually is known to carry them on her own wings so that they learn to emulate the proper movements of flight until the time that they are able to soar solo.
I don’t know about you, but I have a lot to learn from this lady! This “fowl” mom is a fine mentor for us, in that she shows us the beautiful balance of loving our children enough to push them to their limits and yet the wonderful wisdom of holding their hands while helping them learn to fly.
I’m a mom and as such these are principles I need to take to heart, but I’m also a nestling in need of nudging. Earlier this morning, as I perused the pages of my Bible I ran across this wonderful word picture of the eagle and was struck by the way in which an old prophet compares this mother to our Father. Hear what he says:
"Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions. The Lord alone guided them, and there was no foreign god with Him." – from the Song of Moses
Wow! Just like the eagle dealt with her children, so God deals with His.
In the current context, Moses is speaking of Israel. Silly old stubborn Israel, who was content to remain in the land of Egypt, living relationally as slaves when in reality they were created to be sons – free sons and heirs of the King!
And what shall the all-wise Parent do for His lazy little ones? He shall “stir up the nest”. Through persistent, painful providence – even a providence of plagues – God pushed His people out of that place. He drove them out of Egypt and yet in His driving He did not immediately drop them in the promised land, no…He educated them in the school of wilderness wanderings. They needed to learn to fly and that lesson would not be best learned along the simple route but along the circuitous.
For 40 hard years – 40 years of failings and fallings and flounderings – God was hovering over them, spreading His wings out to protect them, and carrying them on His own pinions until they learned to glide with grace.
My friends, have you found yourself suddenly sinking from safety in this life?
Do the circumstances of even this very day find you plummeting with seemingly painful purposelessness?
Are you tumbling, tottering, toppling towards what appears to be your certain demise and doom?
Oh, beloved, there is an Eagle who hovers over you even in the darkness of the night sky. If He is your Father then you may rest assured that His wings will catch you before you crash and will in due time teach you to flutter freely and sail upon even the fiercest winds with the mighty and majestic wings of faith! You are not alone in the grip of gravity – your God goes with you, and He hems you in behind and before that your foot will not slip.
Do not look to the ground beneath you. Look up! Look up and see the glory and grandeur of your God. Lift up your eyes to the mountains, from whence your help shall come! Your help comes from the Lord - that great Eagle - who made heaven and earth, He will not allow your foot to slip and He who keeps you will not slumber nor sleep. He is your keeper. He is your shade and shelter and shield from that which seems so hopeless. The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will protect you from all evil and He will keep your soul. The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever. You suffering saints who are feeling the weight of falling from the seemingly safe slumber that was yours inside the nest, know this, Your God – just as a mother eagle - loves you too much to leave you in the “security” of the nest for that nest shall surely keep you from what’s best!
Do not long for Egypt – whatever Egypt is for you. Your perceived period of rest in its nest was in reality a deceived spot of slavish servitude, but in Christ Jesus there is real rest. Are you weary? Are you heavy laden? Are you bruised and broken by the fall? Then “come, ye sinners, poor and wretched, weak and wounded, sick and sore; Jesus ready stands to save you, full of pity joined with pow’r. He is able. He IS able. He is willing; doubt no more. He is willing doubt no more!”
Surely the eagle of all Eagles has landed – His name is Jesus and He landed on the soil of this earth over 2,000 years ago. He left the holy nest of Heaven and came crashing into this splintered place, being impaled upon a cross. He took upon Himself the sins that weigh us down and keep us from ever being able to soar heavenward and in exchange He gave us His righteousness which sets us free to fly!
Do you wish to fly? There is but one way. The Eagle has told us the way. “Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you shall find rest for your souls, for My yoke is easy and my load is light.” Flee to Jesus and as you fall upon Him you shall find the freedom of flight! How thankful I am for the stirring of the nest that led me from my perceived perch of peace into the free falling place of peace that only comes from dwelling with the Prince of peace. How thankful I am for His continued hovering over me when I am in need of help, for His well spread wings which are always there when I am in need of being caught, and for the firm foundation of His perfect pinions which carry me when I cannot fly any further.
It’s nice outside the nest. How I hope and pray you'll join me here!
His and yours -