Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
I no longer believe in coincidences.
Now I’m not superstitious and while I may be simple-minded (the jury’s still out on that one), all I know is that the longer I have walked with God, the more I see His hand in all of the seemingly coincidental occurrences in my life. People that come to mind randomly or in a dream turn out to be promptings to pray or meet a practical need. Scriptures that seem to recur randomly in daily readings, kids’ school lessons, and on signs in a store I am shopping at are often personal reminders of some sin that needs to be addressed or some encouragement to persevere through something tricky. There are dozens of examples, but I want to share one very personal one with you today. It concerns bald eagles and today’s Scripture passage.
Let me explain. . . I spent my childhood hoping to see a bald eagle in “real life,” a childhood term roughly translated as “not in a zoo nor in a photo, but flying wild and fierce and free.” My daddy had seen one when he was small, and so I kept a frequent check on the skies hoping that I would be so lucky.
Decades later, I still harbored that secret hope but of course duty and responsibility ate up many of my sky-watching hours. In late 2011 during a protracted time of physical pain and spiritual darkness, the Lord impressed Isaiah 40:31 on my heart. Just a few months later in February 2012, I also had a chance to visit Reelfoot Lake with some friends and attend one of the state park’s eagle tours where a park ranger takes a group to various known bald eagle nesting sites. Finally, I was able to see a wild eagle! I treasure that memory as a tangible reminder of the admonishment given me by my God to wait on Him through my trial.
Fast-forward to this year. God had done an amazing work of renewal in my heart. All the years of difficulty and darkness had been a time of refinement, bringing the impurities in my heart to the surface so they could be skimmed and removed just as metals are melted to skim the dross. By summer of this year, I had begun a process of repentance for many “hidden” sins and was beginning to feel my spiritual strength returning. Just down the street from my sister-in-law was… guess what? Yes, a bald eagle’s nest! We were able to walk right beneath the nest, see a young bird peering out of it, and watch one of the mighty parents circle over our heads.
Now the year is drawing to a close. I have experienced what I can only describe as a personal revival. I have been granted a season of experiencing deep gratitude and intense joy for my salvation and love for my King. But last Friday, I became anxious once again, certain that I was missing the mark both as a parent and as a teacher. I was convinced that I had not the ability nor strength to do this job, that I was failing miserably. Overwhelmed and emotionally exhausted from trying to shepherd my children’s emotions, I hit my knees that night before bed and cried out to God for help and wisdom.
Saturday morning as I drove into town, I saw a bald eagle. He was just sitting there in a tree not 5 miles from my house. God was reminding me again to wait on Him, reminding me that He is my strength. And as the eagle soared away, I felt my heart once again mount up alongside him.
Has God given you any special reminders or tokens of His grace that mean nothing to anyone but you? I would love to hear about them!