The first time I saw an eagle – a real eagle flying in the sky – it took my breath away. I had seen eagle in a book or soaring in slow motion on a television screen, but to see this eagle as I stood at my office window had me calling to others, “Hurry, you have to see this!”
The eagle is America’s bird. It’s a no brainer, although Ben Franklin trashed the eagle at one time in favor of the turkey. Our second favorite bird, the turkey, was said to be more “respectable,” being that he is native to the new world. But the eagle was chosen as one of our nation’s first symbols, was placed on the national seal, and was depicted gloriously “on the wing and rising.”
Before we moved to North Carolina, far away from family, Kathy and I wrestled with the big question: “Do we go or not?” We would not just be moving to
a neighboring state but rather to a place that separated us by four states from the place where we lived most of our lives. It was one of those crossroads that when the decision was made, our lives, and our children’s lives, could be altered forever. It was monumental.
We spent hours talking about every detail – weighing all the pros and cons.
I had been offered a ministry opportunity in Alabama – much closer to our home, Louisiana – and chose not to take it. Why then would we go to North Carolina?
The question filled our prayers. We both agreed that it was a decision to be made when we knew God’s direction.
Well, knowing God’s direction is not always easy. It’s not like a blimp flying over with a message scrolled across its side reading, “This way!” That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t lead or that He doesn’t direct. In fact, He lovingly provides direction.
But the direction He gives may only be “Go.” There are no upfront guarantees.Following the Lord takes faith.
We sat on the edge of our bed. There was silence. We had asked all the questions. We wanted assurances, but to no avail; it came down to faith. Did we have the faith to step forward? Did we trust that the Lord was leading us to go?
Every time God placed a big question in our life, there was the silence at the point of decision. There was that moment when we act in faith. It is a place of quiet stillness – despite what may be swirling around to distract us.
So, we decided. We would go. Now, it was time to take the step.
Ever done a zipline? It’s that wire strung between trees or poles. Speeding high above the ground, seeing everything swish by, and feeling the exhilaration is fun. But the first step from the platform is nerve racking. Stepping and feeling weightless, for only seconds, is unsettling.
Kathy and I closed our eyes, whispered “Yes, Lord” and stepped. We stepped and almost immediately it felt as if we were falling, pulled down by gravity. And then it happened. We were rising. It is what happens when one steps out with faith. We felt God’s spirit lift us, affirm us and move us forward.
“But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles...”
The image of the eagle in scripture is that of strength, an image of rising
to the heavens on high. People who pilot planes speak about the peace they experience high above the earth. When the eagle spreads its wings and glides, there is only the slight rustling of a feather.
Rising on the wings of an eagle grows confidence within us. It is a confidence we tap into when we are challenged to step into the unknown. Faith is the substance, the basis of what pleases God. It is the evidence, the proof, we hold fiercely to when we are called to go, to serve, to walk with God, to soar.