Monday, October 12, 2009

Stirring hearts

"Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirti of God was hovering over the waters."
Genesis 1:2 (NIV)

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Without form and void, it was shapeless and useless. Then, something happened. The Spirit of God moved.

The author of all being and fountain of life sprung into motion.
Where God the Father willed creation, God the Son spoke it through His Word, and God the Spirit gave it life through His breath.

Let's take a closer look at the Spirit "hovering over the waters." The Hebrew word rachaph used in Genesis means "shake, move, flutter, to hover."

The same word rachaph is used in Deuteronomy 32 when Moses reminded the children of Israel how God delivered them out of slavery in Egypt. "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." (Deuteronomy 32:11)

Eagles are fascinating. Its egg is a little larger than a duck egg. When the babies are born, both parents take responsibility for their care. They bring food to the nest and feed the young small pieces of meat. Within 12 weeks an eaglet is practically full size; with a wingspan of 79 to 90 inches, it weighs 10 to 14 pounds. Yet, it is in the nest.

In preparation for flight, a process called fledging, young eagles lose their fluffy baby down and grow special feathers. A parent hovers over the nest and flaps its wings. As the fledgling stretches for its food, it mimics the parent. The subsequent wind made by the parent causes the baby to rise slightly above the nest as the young eagle also flaps its newly feathered wings.

Sometimes if an eaglet is fearful or doesn't show interest in taking its first flight, a parent withholds food, forcing it out of the nest. In her book An Eagle to the Sky (1970), wildlife author and ornithologist Frances Hammerstrom recorded an heroic eaglet's first flight.

The young eagle was now alone in the nest. Over and over again, a parent came with empty feet. The eaglet grew thinner. He pulled at meat scraps from old dried-up carcasses lying in the nest. Days passed. As he lost body fat, the eaglet became quicker in his movements and paddled ever more lightly when the wind blew, scarcely touching the nest edge; from time to time he was airborne for a moment or two.

Eagerly he called for food. Beating his wings and teetering on the edge of his nest, a parent flew past. Just out of reach she carried a delectable meal of a half-grown jack rabbit.

Hunger and the cold mountain nights had their effect on the young eaglet's body and disposition. A late frost hit the valley and a night wind ruffled his feathers and chilled his body. When the sunlight reached the nest edge, he sought its warmth,; and soon he was bounding in the wind, now light and firm-muscled.

A parent flew by, downwind, dangling a young marmot in its feet. The eaglet almost lost his balance in his eagerness for food. Then the parent swung by again, closer, upwind, and riding the updraft, as though daring the eaglet to fly. Lifted light by the wind, he was airborne, flying--or more gliding--for the first time in his life. He sailed across the valley to make a scrambling, almost tumbling landing on a bare knoll. As he turned to get his bearings, the parent dropped the young marmot nearby. Half running, half flying he pounced on it, mantled, and ate his fill.

Are you comfortable in your "nest"? Are you so content within your surroundings, your way of doing things, your way of thinking, your way of living that when God "stirs up the nest" you become upset, even angry? Curious, yet fearful, are you teetering on the edge of your comfort zone thinking you're too old, inexperienced, unskilled, or unintelligent to experience what lies beyond?

If we're really honest, it may be we simply don't want to grow. We're satisfied with how things are. But God wants us to fly--to become all He calls us to become. English missionary William Carey's most renowned principle of action was, "Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God."

When God stirs up our nest, He does so with good reason. What's more, when God hovers, He also breathes life.

Happy flying!

Blessings, dear friend.
Faithfully Following

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