“In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions. The Lord alone led him; no foreign god was with him.” Deuteronomy 32:10-12
I recently learned an interesting fact about how a female eagle finds her mate. She watches carefully for a male eagle who shows interest in her and when ready to be courted, she flies down, picks up a twig and carries it high into the air. She drops the twig and watches to see if the male eagle will catch it before it hits the ground. If he is successful and returns the twig to the female, she will find a larger twig or branch to drop a second time. The eagle will repeat this process with various sized branches from various heights. If the male ever allows the branch to fall to the ground, she flies away and the courtship is over.
For the final test, the female picks up the largest branch she can carry and will fly in a figure eight pattern. She will choose her timing and suddenly drop it to see if the male will succeed. If he does, they will lock their talons in flight and become one another’s lifetime mate.
The most interesting fact about this process is to realize the reason behind the female eagle’s series of tests. You see - when a baby eaglet reaches a certain point of maturity, it is time for the mother to push it from the nest in order to see if it will fly. Obviously, this is a stressful time for the eaglet. He has never flown before and instinct must take over, but there is that possibility the small bird isn’t ready yet to take flight. The mother nudges him over the edge anyway. He flaps his wings frantically as he falls faster and faster. Just before he hits the ground, the father eagle swoops down just in the nick of time and catches him on his wings. Daddy will then safely return the baby back to the nest where he will await the next flying lesson.
It is easy to see here why the momma eagle was so adamant about choosing a mate that could pass the test - one that could be trusted. For her precious babies very lives depended on his swiftness to catch them and carry them through. Sometimes I feel like that baby eagle who has been pushed out of the nest. I flap my wings like crazy in order to take flight, but despite my efforts I continue to fall farther and farther. But in all those situations, I have had a daddy eagle swoop down just in time to catch me and carry me to safety.
Are you experiencing circumstances in life that make you feel as if you are falling farther and farther, ready to hit the ground? Does it appear that there is no one there to catch you? God is actively working on our behalf and He is there to support us. He knows what is best and just how much we need to learn through our circumstances. He may allow pain and suffering, but He has promised we will never experience more than we can handle. It is in these very moments that His grace provides us with hope and encouragement and the more we get to know Him the easier it is to trust that He will be there to catch us when we fall. When we can’t find our wings, He will continue teaching us until we do. He carries us through - on eagles’ wings!