Devotional: Learning to Fly
Deuteronomy 32: 10-11: “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.” A mother eagle builds her nest on top of a mountain, usually on an unreachable crag jutting out of a cliff that oversees a chasm, thousands of feet below.
After the eagle builds a sturdy, safe nest, she feathers it. She cushions it for her babies to make it comfortable and cozy. When her eagles are hatched, she spends the first weeks feeding them, sheltering them, keeping them nestled and safe.
In this happy setting, they grow fat and strong. Soon they’re wrestling around in the nest, elbowing each other for room, fighting to be first at the food. Wise mom knows it is time to disturb the nest.
Little by little, she starts pulling out the soft and cushy things. The eaglets must wonder, “What’s with Mom?” as their nest begins to prickle and poke them. It’s not so comfortable anymore. So, they start working their way up from the bottom of the nest, trying to get away from mom’s antics, until they find themselves near the edge.
Wow! What a big world out there! They peek out at the horizon. It looks interesting, so they venture a little higher until they are perched right on the edge. Suddenly Mom comes up from behind, thrusts out her strong beak and pushes one little eaglet over the edge.
Well, at this point our little hero is convinced that mom is crazy. He’s falling and falling, apparently plunging to his death. Fighting the currents in the wind, vainly flapping his baby wings, tumbling around out there in the middle of the air, scared to death.
Then, right before he hits bottom, Mom swoops down with her big powerful wings and catches him, carrying him up, up, up back to the safety of the nest—until next time.
Over and over the eaglet tries to escape the new thorniness and prickliness of his nest. As he climbs toward the perch, mom sneaks up once again and pushes him out, and again he falls. Each time, she catches him, but she knows that one day she won’t need to. Each time he falls, his flapping at the wind gets stronger and more sure. Finally the day comes when he is capable of flying on is own, soaring on the wind and learning to navigate by himself.