Every year when autumn arrives, millions of monarch butterflies begin their lengthy migration from southern Canada and northern United States to spend the winter under the protection of the pine forests in central Mexico. As they migrate to such extensive distances, the butterflies will encounter numerous extreme challenges in their survival. For over three months, they will travel over 5,000 miles, cross large bodies of water, and the threat of preying birds.
However, in their journey this year, they have been joined by Francisco Gutierrez in his thirty-three foot wide ultra-light airplane. Because the monarch butterflies are on the endangered species list, Francisco is hoping to draw attention to the conservation of their many habitats throughout the route. Much to his surprise, though, he has found himself overwhelmed at his opportunity to view life from the perspective of a butterfly in flight. From such heights, perhaps there are things we who only walk on the ground will miss during our journey.
Anyone who has ever come into my study knows I have made it an eagle habitation that would make Marlin Perkins proud. Scripture has so much to say about eagles, but the most quoted of them all is Isaiah 40:31, “but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles.” I have seen a few eagles in flight, and they seem to soar with great ease and agility. There is a grace and elegance about them. There is a confidence and strength they seem to possess. If only we had the wings of eagles! Have you ever saw an eagle as he glided in the air and wondered what it must be like?
Far too many of our lives choose to stay on the ground and become victims in the rat-race of life when the Lord delights in giving His children wings to fly. For some, wings have never developed. For others, their wings have been clipped by the circumstances of life. I want to tap into your imagination for just a moment, and paint some pictures on the canvas of your mind as to just what it might be like to soar with the wings of an eagle.
With eagle’s wings we can gauge our spiritual progress. In Exodus 19:4, the Lord reminds Israel, “Ye have seen…how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.” Eagles wings are not meant so much to help us avoid difficulties on the ground, but rather to bring us to a closer view of His face!
From that perspective, we are then able to see life in a way we never saw before. Soaring at lofty heights in the face of God allows you to see more than where you have been. It affords you the opportunity to see where you are going! One thing you will observe about an eagle in flight is the fact they soar peacefully at rest. They really make it look easy. Perhaps that is why spiritual giants who dare to fly higher seem to soar with ease. From extreme heights, enemies are exposed, direction is clear, but horizons reveal a brighter side of God’s glory. We will never be confident of our future until we can grasp the higher vision of the One who holds our future.
With eagle’s wings we can gather our spiritual power. In Deuteronomy 32:11, Moses writes, “as an eagle…fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings.”
Moses is watching a mother eagle throw her eaglet from the nest in an attempt to teach it to fly, and as it tumbles to its apparent death, she then swiftly dives down and rescues the eaglet on her wings. As you look back over the course of your life, do you recall places and times that you cannot explain how you ever got beyond them? For each of us who flap our wings but cannot seem to get them to work, there are times in life that the only explanation for our survival was the powerful wings of God! As you watch an eagle glide in the open air with his wings spread, the wind that sustains his flight is at the same time adding strength for his wings to endure more powerful and swirling winds he’ll face in higher altitudes. To go to spiritual summits without His strength will lead us to a place where the character of our wings cannot sustain us.
With eagle’s wings we can guard our spiritual peace. In Job 39:27-28, when peace was being restored to his broken life, he wrote, “Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? She dwelleth and abideth on the rock…” One thing you will observe about an eagle is the fact they never seem to struggle and strive in flight. A life that never gets off the ground is a life destined to contend with fears and be broken by failures. Only when we can soar to spiritual pinnacles are we able to escape the intimidation of shadows on the ground, and eclipse approaching storms. Eagles are solitary creatures and rarely fly in flocks, but do they really fly alone? They have learned to rest peacefully in the wind that carries them.
Do you wonder what all we’ve missed just living at ground level? In Job 39:29, Job said of the eagle, “..her eyes behold afar off.” Some of us cannot see beyond today, and others cannot get over yesterday. Our tomorrows are already planned and prepared, but just how confidently will we face them? Not until we can at least flutter with the wings of a butterfly will we ever soar with eagle’s wings.
Your Most Proud Pastor,
© Alan Stewart, 2005.
Alan Stewart: Dr. Alan Stewart has served as Senior Pastor of Rechoboth Baptist since December 1999. He attended The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Moody Bible Institute, Covington Theological Seminary, and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary.
Prior to pastoring the Tennessee church, Alan was an evangelist for 15 years. He has preached revivals/pastor’s conferences in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland. He also preached crusades/conferences in India, Hungary, and conducted a crusade in South Africa in August of 2009. Pastor Alan is married to Jeanne, and they are blessed with two children – Sierra and Seth.