Encore post by special request.
This article is slated to appear in Leona's book in progress:
SINGING ON THE SUMMIT (a sequel to her autobiographical Trilogy)
“...Those who wait for the Lord--who expect, look for and hope in Him--shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint or become tired.” Ampl. Isa. 40:28-31
“[The Lord] who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age] with good; so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagles’s [strong, overcoming, soaring]! Ampl. Psa. 103:5
So what is all this about eagles? There are 25 spiritual analogies to eagles in the Old and New Testaments. Why did God pick that bird for an example rather than a chicken, vulture, parrot, crow, canary or turkey to compare His children to?
An eagle is the king of the birds, remarkable, bold, powerful, large, clean, tenacious, intelligent, committed for life to their mates, and terrifically aerodynamic. Eagles only flap their wings about ten percent of their flight time, not continuously like other birds. They soar on air currents. They don’t flock or hang around with other birds. But when an eagle hears the distress cry of another eagle, it flies to the rescue.
An eagle’s wing span can be 7-8 feet enabling it to fly long distances. Parent birds nest high up in trees or on mountains, always with their backs to the rock. Eagle parents build their huge nests so incredibly stable and secure that they can weigh up to 3 tons. They can be 20 feet deep and over 9 feet wide. The eagle eats only fresh meat from the time it is born and doesn’t relish roadkill like vultures. It fearlessly thrives on adversity. The Creator has designed eagles powerfully to survive harsh climates and difficult conditions.
It can sense a storm before it can be seen. That’s the time it decides what it will do. The position of its wings not the force of the wind determines the outcome. The eagle flies into the storm knowing that the headwind gusts will pop it right up over the storm. It can fly twice as fast in a storm. If it goes through a storm the right way, it will benefit by growing stronger. In a storm it is separated from all other birds. Some birds may fly high but none as high as the eagle’s seven miles altitude.
An eagle’s eyes are so sharp that it can see its prey from two miles high. The higher up, the better it sees. It can dive at a rabbit or fish at 200 miles an hour. It is born with a solution in its eyes that eventually hardens and acts like a compass. Instinctively it can locate the North Pole. If it goes in the wrong direction from its home it gets a low-level pain in its eyes until it turns to fly in the right direction. An eagle is born with trifocals, three lenses in its eyes, and can see in all directions. The first one protects the sensitive eye from debris. The second is a telescopic vision lens, and if it could read a newspaper, it could do so from a mile away. The third lens is tinted and comes from both sides of the eye toward the middle. An eagle is born to look directly into the sun. That lens protects its sight from UV rays, so it can fly toward it.
The crow is one of the worst enemies of the eagle. If the crow can get on the back of the eagle and dig in with its talons, it knows that the eagle is so big it can’t turn back quickly to get the crow off its back. To get rid of it, the eagle waits for the thermal currents, pulls out that third lens, gives a shout, a screechy cry that scares them and flies off speedily directly into the sun. It mounts higher and higher until the pest can’t breathe in the high altitude and drops off. Moreover, the enemy can’t stand to look into the sun.
An eagle is so strong it can pick up a kangaroo and break its back with its talons. It is long-lived, from 60-100 years, some known to have lived 128 years. An eagle is never too old to reproduce, even into old age. It can’t exist in captivity, it needs to be free. If captured and forced to eat dead meat it will become weak and sickly and eventually die.
God has put into the eagle the instinct for daily maintenance which it tends to meticulously. It spends up to an hour each day sitting quietly on a rock in the sun preening and cleaning its feathers. A large eagle has up to 7,000 feathers, about 1,200 on each wing. It passes each feather through its mouth and breathes on it like steam cleaning. That restores its feathers from yesterday's wear and tear. A gland in the eagle's mouth secretes oil to weatherproof and waterproof the feathers when it needs to dive in the water for fish.
How the Aging Eagle Renews Itself
In spite of all that daily maintenance, the time comes in the life span of this majestic bird when all of its wonderful functions begin to diminish and wear out. It faces an aging, deteriorating crisis, unable to navigate in the air as it has been accustomed to do. Its eyes are becoming dim and no longer moist, its talons are not as sharp, and calcium deposits on its beak prevent it from being able to hunt as before. The eagle is losing strength and its feathers are becoming sparse. (Sound familiar?) It is one tired bird!
It could give up and settle down to rest on a canyon floor, just dragging around in its weakness. But it will die in the valley if it stays there. The valley is not where God means for eagles to die, moreover, its time to die may not have come yet. When another strong eagle sees the bedraggled, defeated eagle in the canyon, it screams at it and dive bombs at it to stir the eagle up to follow its God ordained instincts. It must leave the low places where it is unprotected in its weakness from its enemies and go to the mountain like God ordained through the instincts He put within it. The time has come when it must "mount up with wings as an eagle" to the highest place it can find, away from everything distracting and remain alone.
The aging eagle finds a high flat rock in the direct sunshine. For two weeks it works hard to rub and scrape its talons against the rock to sharpen them again. It knocks its beak repeatedly against the rock or a branch to break off the calcium deposits, until the old beak crumbles away revealing a renewed one. If necessary, it flies headlong into a rock to accomplish that.
The eagle occasionally returns to the fresh stream in the valley to drink from the cool water and to bathe frequently to get rid of all lice, parasites, and mud. All the while it is plucking out its worn feathers until it is nearly naked. This is undoubtedly painful, but its remarkable instinct tells it that this pruning is necessary for renewal. The eagle spends most of its time resting quietly and warming itself in the sun and heavenly breezes. It renews itself for 40 days until it grows new feathers, and all of its functions are revived as good as new. Its eyes become clear as a young eagle's again, its talons and beak are restored to sharpness, and its normal strength has returned. God let the bird know that it wasn't finished with the life God planned for it yet.
When the eagle senses that the restoration is complete, it takes off again soaring into the heights, crying loudly with its renewed voice and with the rejuvenated capabilities and strength of a young eagle. Once renewed, it is said that if you put it side by side with a young eagle only a year and a half old, you can't tell the difference. Psalm 103:5 has been demonstrated!
A time and season for all things
An eagle doesn't migrate like some other birds. It never goes far from the rock on which it was born. In the eagle's life cycle, when it senses that the time has really come to die, it goes to its home rock, wraps its talons around it securely, and watches the sun set. It looks directly into the sun with a faraway look in its eyes. It is not necessarily sick, but God has put in its heart the desire to be free from the present world. The eagle instinctively knows that its purpose on earth is done. When the sun has set, it lies down and peacefully dies.
God has put into the hearts of His children to go through a time or many times of renewal like the eagle, especially during a long lifetime. But eventually, like the eagle, we clearly sense from God that the time has come, that we have reached "a time to die," to go to The Rock of our birth, Jesus, for the final launch into Eternity.
Jesus endured the pain and suffering on the cross, but at a certain point He knew from God that the time had finally come to die and declared, "It is finished." He released His spirit. "Into Thy hands I commit my spirit." This was his deliberate action, His decision. His life was not taken from Him.
Likewise there is that knowing point in time when to endure and continue is no longer the struggle, no longer the question, the decision. A child of God is no longer "hard pressed between the two" desires, to go or to remain, as the apostle Paul declared he was in the Philippians record. He knows the time has finally come to release his spirit into the presence of God.
"With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation" (Psalm 91:16) is God's sure promise. The time eventually comes when the child of God is truly satisfied to go because God calls his life complete. He relaxes and rests in the arms of God. He hangs on tenaciously to The Rock, and The Rock, Christ Jesus, hangs on to him. He "faces the sun" (Son) and looks forward at peace toward the joy that is set before him, anticipating at last to experience the salvation God has promised to show him.