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"Mount Up with Wings as Eagles"

Barry Huff
Posted Wednesday, April 30th, 2003

With the Deuteronomy description of the eagle who stirs up her nest and teaches her nestlings to fly (Deut. 32:11, 12) this earlier CedarS nature met is especially instructive:

As the children of Israel journeyed many miles through the wilderness, the sight of vultures soaring effortlessly in the sky must have encouraged the weary travelers. (The Hebrew word "nesher," translated in the King James Version of the Bible as "eagle, usually refers to the griffon vulture.) How can vultures fly for hours while only occasionally beating their wings? Rising currents of warm air, called thermals, and updrafts of air, caused when wind is deflected upward by objects like hills and buildings, uplift the vulture with its outstretched wings, enabling it to defy gravity. By flying slowly in tight circles, vultures stay within thermals and updrafts and therefore do not need to flap their wings. Interestingly, the Greek word for wind, pneuma, also means spirit and inspiration. Instead of frantically flapping our wings, we can wait on God's uplifting inspiration (wind) to renew our strength.

Turkey vultures often roost on trees at night and in the early morning, waiting with outstretched wings until the morning sun has warmed the air and created thermals for them to soar upon. Maybe this is what Isaiah 40:31 is referring to: "they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles." When we're worn out by our own efforts, we too can stretch out our wings, extend our thought, and wait for the upward-soaring inspiration of Spirit to lift us to new heights. By yielding to a greater force, we soar! Similarly, some observers suggest that vultures know when a storm is approaching. They fly to a high spot and wait with outstretched wings for the winds to come. The winds lift the vulture above the storm. While the storm roars below, the vulture soars above. The vulture uses the storm for uplift, rising on the winds. As Hymn 148 declares, "The storm may roar without me." Instead of getting dragged down by the storms of life, we can rise above them. The storm may roar without me because the kingdom of God is within me, lifting me above confusion and discord!

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