Friday, March 30, 2012

The Trust of an Eaglet

I have been watching an eagle cam this spring. (Decorah web cam in Iowa)
The eggs hatched this week - the little eaglets are adorable , white little fluffy wide eyed chicks.
I love watching the parents come to feed their young. Even the day they hatched they were already fed bits of raw meat to which their little beaks open eagerly.
I am so amazed at the gentle carefulness of the parent eagle. Their clawed feet look huge beside the fragile chicks. How easily one misstep or one snap of the terror-hooked beak would snuff out the life of the tiny chick.

As I observed the incongruence of beast of prey and helpless bit of down-covered life, I was struck with the baby birds' display of unquestioning trust.
There is no alternative for the chicks but to trust their parent eagles. They are totally and completely at the adult birds' mercy. Their safety, their food, their protection , their very existence depends on a creature whose majestic power and strength belies tenderness.
Their whole world is encompassed by the nest in which they hatched. There is no where else for them to go - escape the nest and death awaits.
But fear is not familiar to the little bird. Complete trust beats in its little breast - no sense of terror when the huge parent bird swoops into the nest. Only a response of a welcome chirp and an open beak for the expectant supply of food. Then a snuggle under the breast of the parent bird that settles carefully over her young to provide needed warmth and safety.

I watched and was struck with the parallel of eaglet chick and me.
I too have a Father who built a nest in which He gave me life.
My nest is the physical world. I cannot escape -- only death lies outside my nest.
My Father hovers over my nest - His wings span the whole of it. His eyes are ever upon it - He is never far away.
Yet, I am not as trusting as the eaglet chick.
I worry about my needs being met.
I sometimes fear my Father has perhaps forgotten me.
I am anxious about the dangers around me.
Do I struggle to believe that my God is BIG enough to 'cover' the nest He built? that He knows my need? that He is ever vigilant over every detail of my life?

Job seemed to share this kind of thinking ... He said, "I shall die in my nest ..." (Job 29:18) while Ruth had more the attitude of the little eaglet, safe under the refuge of the Lord God's wings. (Ruth 2:12)
David, the Shepherd King who spent countless nights in his 'nest' under open skies understood well Who watched over him.
" Hide me under the shadow of Your wings... Ps. 17:8 "I will trust in the shelter of Your wings" Ps. 61:4 "How precious is Your loving kindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings." Ps. 36:7, "Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice!" Ph. 63:7

How beautiful and comforting are the following words...
"He shall cover you with His feathers,
and under His wings you shall take refuge, ...
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day ...
No evil shall befall you..."
and you shall hear the voice of the Lord whisper softly to you ...
"Because you have set your love upon Me, I will deliver you..
I will set you on high because you have known My name,
You shall call upon Me and I will answer you,
I will be with you in trouble,
I will deliver you and honour you ,
With long life I will satisfy you, and show you My salvation!"
(adapted from Ps. 91)

"O, Lord Father, may I quiet my heart before you and know that you have shown me in a little bird what trust looks like and how futile and silly it is of me to ever doubt your care!"

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Using our GPS

My husband got a GPS for his birthday and a couple of days later we headed for the Vancouver International Airport to pick up our friends returning from a mission's trip.
The airport being over an hour drive away, we thought it would be a great opportunity to try out our new 'know-it-all' electronic toy.
To our dismay the device's instructions made no sense at all. On our way to the freeway it begged us to take every side road and when we ignored the instructions and turned onto the freeway it continued to instruct us to take every exit. It did not miss a single one and at one point became very insistent telling us to "U-turn U-turn!"
Finally, we just turned it off and followed the road signs to the airport.

Our son in law is our computer advisor and we gave him the GPS to see if he could 'fix' whatever was wrong with it. He played with it for a bit and then chortled.
His diagnosis ? At some point, we had touched the screen and inadvertently clicked on the option of avoiding all highways!
I realized there was a great spiritual analogy here.

As we travel the highways of life we are on what the bible calls the broadway.
This broadway does not lead to good places though, of course, it seems to promise that it does. In fact the broadway's set destination is hell itself.

The broadway is characterized by varying degrees of the 'travel' conditions itemized in Gal. 5 - adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, contentions, jealousies, wrath, selfish ambitions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries.

When we come to the cross and recognize that our salvation lies in faith in Jesus Christ and we are 'born again' something changes -- in fact, everything changes.

1. Instead of travelling through life in circles feeling lost and disoriented we are given a great gift - a spiritual GPS (God-Positioning-System) - the indwelling Holy Spirit.
2Ti 1:14 "...... the Holy Spirit who dwells in us."

2. Our life path now is set to a new destination. We are heading for home - our eternal dwelling place.
Php 3:20 "For our citizenship is in heaven..."

3. We can trust that we are now on the right path, that will lead us to our destination.
Jer 29:11 "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."

4. Our life path is now characterized by a new set of travelling 'conditions' ... love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Gal. 5:22

5. Our journey option setting has been changed to "avoid all freeways, highways"

Freeways -- We have a natural default of wanting our own way. We want to make our own decisions, choices, plans. God has a better way to go. His ways are so much better than our ways but even as believers we need to guard against turning again to the 'freeways' of self-direction.
Highways -- We live in a world whose mind set is contrary to the ways of God and yet because the ways of the world are so familiar to us they often make more sense to us than God's ways. The highways of the world always promise us the easy way or the fastest way to avoid the difficulties or sacrifices that will cost us discomfort or suffering.

Warning - Our GPS - the Holy Spirit warns us when we turn our feet away from His narrow paths to the freeways or highways of self and this world thinking , He calls us to take the next exit. If we do go astray or make mistakes God always has an exit ready to take us back to the paths that He has designed for us.
His voice will continue to direct us to that 'nearest' exit off the 'highway' - UNTIL we reach over and shut Him off.
"To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." Heb. 4:7

6. We can trust that our spiritual GPS will never fail, never need upgrading !
Isa 42:16 And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.
Let us ... "In all 'our' ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct 'our' paths."
Pro 3:6