The imagery of the eagle is one of my favorite Bible illustrations because of the characteristics that portray such a graceful soar, strength, keen eyesight, and the ability to empower its offspring with great care in the art of flying. In Exodus 19:4 and Deuteronomy 32:11 the eagle is used figuratively to depict God’s protection and care. In these passages, God is pictured as a loving parent who redeems and protects His people, even as the parent eagle cares for its young. God also empowers the persecuted church with “eagles” wings” to protect it from the serpent and from adverse circumstances and difficulties.
Dare to soar like the eagle
The eagle, the epitome of swiftness, is often known to fly at a rate of 40 to 50 miles per hour. It can fly three to four miles in 10 minutes and sometimes flies to heights of more than 10,000 feet.
The eagle needs to work hard to take off. If it is on a rock, it takes small leaps to the air, opens its wings, and begins to fly. If it is on land, it jumps, beats its wings, and rises. Eagles can soar day after day, stopping only to rest at night, by riding on the thermal air currents.
God has also given us the ability to soar. The key to overcoming spiritual weariness is to extend our arms and allow our life to be lifted high above the burdens of this world, by the sweet breeze of the Holy Spirit—soaring above the stress, the past, criticism, and daily difficulties.
When all other birds try to flee from the storm and hide from the fierceness of it, eagles fly into it and use the wind of the storm to rise higher. It uses the pressure of the storm to glide higher without using its own energy. It is able to do this because God has created it with the unique ability to lock its wings in a fixed position in the midst of the fierce winds. We all face storms, but do not be afraid. Simply allow God to lift you above the storms.
Dare to have the strength of an eagle
The strength and youthful vigor of the eagle is proverbial. Some eagles can carry geese, lambs, or other animals between 80-90 pounds. The power of an eagle’s grip comes from its leg muscles, tendons, and bones. Its wings are also very strong, one of the largest wing-spans on record is that of an eagle with a wing span of 7.9 feet.
Our strength comes from God. The Bible suggests that we pray continually. Ellen White said, “In order that we may be kept by the power of God through faith, the desires of the mind should be continually ascending in silent prayer”—Prayer, p. 83. If we want to have the strength of a spiritual eagle, we need to be in a constant prayer mode!
Dare to see like the eagle
From a great distance away, the eagle uses its sharp vision to spot its prey. Rebecca L. Grambo, award-winning author of more than 20 nature books, suggests that the eagle’s eye is among the strongest in the animal kingdom, with an eye-sight estimated at four to eight times stronger than that of the average human (Eagles, p. 11). The eagle has telescopic vision and can see a rabbit from two miles away.
As leaders, we need to be visionary. Visionaries do not look at problems, they see the solutions, they see opportunity. Most visionaries fail many times because of opposition and a lot of resistance. Visionaries are sometimes misunderstood and criticized.
Your vision needs to be greater than your obstacles. The eagle-believers are like Joshua and Caleb, who see beyond present circumstances and are willing to conquer.
Dare to empower like the eagle
In teaching its young to fly, the eagle is said to push them out of the nest high in the rocks, and then hover under them to catch them with its wings as they fall through the air. They empower them into flight and teach them how to survive. Our leadership is growing older and we need to empower our children, youth, and young adults for service. We need to give them the tools to live a life of service with a consecrated mind.
Dare to be like Jesus
Jesus is like an eagle. He came to this earth and He dared to fly. He dared to keep His eyes focused on God. His relationship with His father was on high. He received His strength through constant prayer. He saw what no one else saw. He saw beyond and envisioned His purpose of helping the needy and the sinner. He empowered His disciples to reach the world. Last, but not least, like an eagle He died with open arms on the cross to save us and protect us. Dare to be like the eagle!
Andres J. Peralta is director for the Youth and Young Adult Ministries and the Pathfinder and Adventurer departments in the Atlantic Union Conference.