More than any other bird, the eagle symbolizes deliverance and redemption in scripture. Although they have a wing span averaging six to seven feet, these magnificent birds must learn how to fly.* It does not come naturally.
Isaiah 40:31 has special instructions for those who trust in the Lord. We are to “soar high on wings like eagles.” I’m thinking it’s a good idea to pay attention to how they learn to do it.
Eagles learn flying by observing their parents through an innately different instinct called imprinting. Konrad Lorenz first discovered this phenomenon. He noticed when ducks and geese hatched, they bonded with the first moving object they saw — regardless of whether it was their parent or not.
We learn a lot from who we bond with too.
In Konrad’s studies, one group of ducklings imprinted on his moving boots. In the morning when he would go outside to put on his boots, instead of being in their nest, the ducks were curled up and sleeping on his boots. They followed Konrad everywhere his boots took him.*
Whose “boots” do you follow and where are they taking you?
If we accept God’s invitation to soar, we must imprint on His moves – where He is taking us. And yes, He can take us to some pretty obscure places. We may land where we are the least familiar or where we have the least amount of control. However, in Psalm 139, we read that God goes before us and He follows us.
You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand! – Psalm 139:5-6 NLT
This takes the imprinting concept to a divine level. He leads. We follow. Then He follows us, but not to learn. He follows us because He loves. Because He protects. Because He is God.
My response to His grace in Christ, is to learn how to FLY: Fear not. Lean hard. Yield completely. Like the eagle, it does not come naturally to me either.
If that’s you too, when our steps of faith are unclear, curling up and sitting at His feet gives us the clarity we need. It is undoubtedly the most peaceful place we’ll find to rest in His love and receive His power.
But it is our ongoing dependency on Him that allows us experience His hand of blessing. His imprint on our lives makes the best impression — the kind that gives hope for the heart and joy to the soul.