Raptors are fascinating creatures. I am not referring to the Jurassic Park variety but the raptors you can see every day. They include hawks, eagles, owls and vultures. It was a bright sunny day as I gazed across the dormant corn field and toward the woods and there soaring with seemingly little to no effort was a bald eagle. A pair of them have a nesting site along a creek nearby and this one was on the hunt for food.
As I watched this magnificent specimen of wonder the attack came. A crow dived down from above and pecked at the eagle’s back forcing it to take maneuvers to avoid the pesky behavior of the crow. The beauty of the eagle’s flight was severely interrupted by the crow. Crows do not soar like raptors but need to flap their wings constantly to get anywhere. I wonder if the Creator was illustrating from this incident experiences of which we are all way too familiar.
There are several instances in the Scriptures referring to eagles. The one perhaps most quoted is “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) When the attacks come we often feel grounded with no strength, totally weary and unable to move spiritually and sometimes physically as well. It seems like we are soaring on the wind of the Spirit and then we are forced to take survival maneuvers to make it to the next day or hour or minute for that matter.
So what can we glean from the encounter of these creatures? Remember, the creator is in control of all creation. However, the natural unfolding of events is allowed to take place. Imagine that you or I are the eagle just soaring with new strength and freedom. Imagine the crow or it could be any bird other than a raptor represents a source of our desperation and inability to be the majestic masterpiece God created.
Perhaps the crow is jealous or envious of the eagle’s abilities. It seems like the eagle does not have a care in the world and just lives a life of effortless flight. So the crow decides to demonstrate some maneuvers to make the eagle’s life a bit miserable.
Many times we are assailed from sources for reasons unknown to us. We are simply endeavoring to live out the beauty God has placed within us and soar on the wind of the Spirit. This splendor is available to anyone seeking (Matthew 7:7) their place and one function in the created order. The crow has much more value than just to be an antagonist to other creatures and so do we. But sometimes it just seems easier to live out of misery and share that misery with others than giving the Lover of the Universe consent to change our perspective toward ourselves and others.
Let’s not be too hard on the crow. Maybe the eagle is just showing off the majesty of being who he is and the crow is used by the creator to illustrate that the eagle is not invincible. Pride is very elusive and when we are soaring and realize the beauty of our being there is a fine line between demonstrating the glory of the gifting of our creator and glorying in those gifts. Arrogance corrupts our created beauty from within just as outside attacks, seemingly for no reason, interfere with our created destiny.
The crow and the eagle have taught us we are gifted creatures with purpose and destiny. Sometimes these attributes get skewed but there is help when we discover the distortions.
Before we find new strength, before we soar, before we run with no weariness, before we walk without fainting—we trust in the Lord. Trust in the Lord is the element that gives hope when we are soaring and free or when we are grounded and weary and are just trying to survive. The poet David Whyte says it this way: start with the first thing close in, the step you don’t want to take. Trust is that first thing. A step into the mystery of relationship with the Divine that can be fulfilling and frightening at the same time. It is worth the risk!
The wind of the Spirit supports us as we soar to new freedom and explore the beautiful creation that is ours to enjoy. The Spirit also gives us the strength to endure weariness and the impediments hindering the journey God has for each of us. So you may be soaring or flapping, but in all of it be thankful for the life you are given.