Running Shoes and Eagles
Written By: Chris Mace
Some obscure sage named Agur was so enthralled by the sight of a soaring eagle that he wrote that the way “an eagle glides through the sky” is one of three things that amazed him. (Proverbs 30:18-19)
Although this beautiful raptor with its stern, disgruntled, uninviting, disturbingly scary face seems an odd choice, America’s founding fathers were impressed enough to make the eagle the official seal of America. President John F. Kennedy expressed his approval when he wrote that “the founding fathers made an appropriate choice when they selected the bald eagle as the nation’s emblem. The fierce beauty and proud independence of this great bird aptly symbolizes the strength and freedom of America.”
Those powerful wings which carry eagles to soaring heights are biblical metaphors for the indescribable awareness, amazing love, boundless mercy, and constant providential care which God gives His children. He is “Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions.” (Deuteronomy 32:11). That encouragement comes from the ever present God, who reminded Israel of His history with them and why He had stuck with them. “ I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. (Exodus 19:4)
Those are poetic sentiments for God’s humility and grace and for His the victorious saving, lifting up, and restoring of His faltering children. They speak to the undeserved mercy and supernatural intimacy we may have with a sovereign, almighty, compassionate, care-taker God, whose heart cannot contain His love because He is love.
In mixed metaphors, Isaiah puts this into perspective for us: “Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
What humility and grace! Such radical love! Those promises are literally embodied in Jesus, who willingly and unabashedly embraced humanity. He opened his arms to die on a Roman cross in order to take humanity’s rightful condemnation for missing the mark. He not only rescued us, he empowers us to live with meaning and lifts us up with the confidence of a promised, glorious resurrection.
That knowledge of God’s loving character and merciful intervention leads to belief, but trust gives us our running shoes to run the race through faith’s obstacle course.