Beloved Eagle

Some time ago my family and I visited Dollywood in Tennessee and as we were exploring the grounds, we unexpectedly came upon the park’s refuge for injured eagles. While I was imagining possible scenarios responsible for these severe injuries, my eyes locked with an eagle’s piercing stare; he immediately looked away- could this poor creature feel despair or shame? Fortunately, just as an unexpected sadness began to overwhelm me, an announcement over the speakers informed us the show was about to begin.

Our host began to explain the plight of hunted eagles and his organization’s endeavors to save them. The breeze picked up as we watched a video depicting some of eagles’ astonishing abilities, such as their ability to see up to 50 miles away and to fly up to 13,000 feet at speeds as fast as 60 mph. However, just as we were admiring pictures of these magnificent birds, images of maimed eagles slowly crossed the screen. The breeze stopped as if in reverent silence and my sadness returned. Suddenly there was another image so strange that I strained forward to decipher the details- an eagle strapped to the top of a hang-glider soaring high above the earth, guided by a figure from underneath the glider’s red wings.

My first instinct was to pity the poor creature because it seemed to me that the glider was a weak attempt to simulate the eagle’s well-deserved freedom. Yet, my eyes brimmed with tears as a still small voice whispered within my spirit, “Much like this, I can carry you where you need to go…” The feathers on the eagle’s body fluttered in the wind of flight; in my imagination there was a sense of peace and perhaps joy in the creature’s abandon to the moment.

Again I heard in my heart, “Life can wound, but there is restoration. Let go of struggles and put your trust in Me.”

“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary” (Isaiah 39:31).

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