Learn To Ride The Wind…
Are you the kind of person that would rather “WALK ON WATER” than to “BUILD A BRIDGE?” Do we desire A NO EFFORT, ride the wave where ever? I sometimes wonder what kind of heart do we have? Am I putting forth an effort and am I learning to grow and be better? Where am I in the process of learning? God takes care of His people, and though we don’t always see it in such striking and noticeable ways, the Bible promises that He will take care of those who are His.
Deuteronomy 32:9-14 But Adonai’s portion is His people—Jacob is the share of His inheritance. (10) He found him in the wilderness land, in the void of a howling waste. He surrounded him, cared for him, guarded him as the pupil of His eye. (11) As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, He spreads His wings, catches him, lifts him up on His pinions. (12) Adonai alone guided him—there was no foreign god with him. (13) He made him mount the heights of the land. so he ate the produce of the field. He suckled him with honey from a rock, with oil from a flinty boulder. (14) Butter of cattle and milk of a flock, with fat of lambs, rams of the Bashan and he-goats, with fat of the kidneys of wheat, and blood of grapes you drank.
This portion of the Bible is a beautiful graphic description of God’s care for Israel over in the 32nd chapter of Deuteronomy. I would like to show it to you, how God lovingly brings about change and maturity in the lives of His people. This sad passage goes on to say that, in spite of all God did for Israel, they ultimately turned away from Him and turned to idols.
Deuteronomy 32:11 As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, He spreads His wings, catches him, lifts him up on His pinions.
What a beautiful picture of how God deals with his people: as a mother eagle training her young to fly. There are seven stages that a young eagle goes through when learning to fly. These stages are also evident in God’s “training” us to live the life of faith. That is the basis of the comparison. As I describe them to you, listen and see if you recognize any of them in your life.
1. The Demonstration Stage To ride the wind we watch. As the time draws near for a young eagle to begin flight training, the mother eagle will frequently push off from the perch where the nest is in the cliff side and hover above her young. In response, the eaglets begin to flap their wings wildly in imitation. It’s as natural and instinctive for them as breathing.
That is what verse 11 is referring to when it says the eagle “hovers” over its young. At this stage the eaglets don’t have enough feathers to fly, but they begin to develop their wing muscles. The key word here is demonstration. The eagle demonstrates flying for her young and they imitate her in response. What a great picture to describe what God has done for us through Yeshua! Yeshua came to earth as Emanuel, “God with us,” the Bible says. He demonstrated the kind of faith and life we should be leading.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Messiah died for us.
2 Timothy 2:8 Remember Yeshua the Messiah, raised from the dead, from the seed of David—according to my Good News.
God hasn’t left us to figure things out on our own. He has cared enough about us to give us a living demonstration. Remember when Yeshua said, “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father?” Yeshua was and is the perfect and indispensable demonstration of how we should live the life of faith.
2. TO RIDE THE WIND WE MUST GO THROUGH THE DISCOMFORT STAGE “Like an eagle that stirs up its nest…” It’s one thing for those young eagles to flap their wings in the security of their down-filled home. It’s quite another for them to move to the edge, look over, and imagine stepping out on nothing! Naturally, they don’t want to do it. So the adult eagle does something the young eagles won’t understand until later. She begins “stirring up” the nest! She actually begins to poke through the bottom and tear the nest apart. The young eagles are literally forced to fly.
What often happens to us at this stage of God’s teaching the faith-life is that we begin to be bothered about something. We recognize that something isn’t right. We begin to get a little worried, a little anxious. There is a growing uneasiness in us. Something is out of whack and we don’t quite know what it is, or if we do, we are ignoring it.
Job 30:27 My heart seethes and never stops; days of suffering confront me.
It can be about anything that is bothering us: A relationship, An unfulfilled dream, the stress in our lives, a fear, a weakness, a habit? We find ourselves thinking, “One of these days I’m going to have to start working on that.” The trouble is, like the eaglet is reluctant to get too close to the edge of the nest, we, too, are reluctant to move out of our comfort zone and face whatever it is.
This is God stirring up our nest. He’s getting us ready for change. He wants us to face something we’ve not faced before, so He makes us uncomfortable. Do some of you know what I mean?
Perhaps He wants us to face our neglected finances. Maybe it is a relationship he wants us to mend or maybe even one He wants us to break off. Whatever the case, there is a growing discomfort and uneasiness in us that is hard to ignore.
You know, the sad thing is that some people live their entire lives in this stage. They cling to their nest like terrified eaglets, afraid to do anything about their problem. They’d rather live with discomfort than risk flying. “At least the discomfort is predictable,” they think. “If I were to change, who knows what might happen? When we find ourselves stalled at the discomfort stage, we might understand why God brings us to the next stage of our learning.
3. THE DANGER ZONE comes before we can ride the wind. Eventually, in the case of eagles, the mother eagle gets all the kids out of the nest. Have you ever seen a full grown eagle still perched in the nest of its parents, peeping like a baby for them to bring him something to eat? No, you haven’t, because one way or the other, he gets booted out of the nest with nothing between he and the hard ground but air. He either learns to fly or falls until his mother rescues him. Eagles weren’t meant to be nest-sitters. They were meant to fly! This danger stage is certainly implied.
God often allows a danger or a crisis to come into our lives that moves the issue we’re ignoring off the back burner. He sends us a wake up call. All of a sudden the pain gets so bad we can’t ignore it anymore. Suddenly we get fired or we have an accident or a serious illness. Perhaps a spouse threatens to walk out or a creditor starts foreclosure. Like the eagle’s nest, the bottom falls out from under our lives and we realize we’ve got to do something – fast!
Psalms 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.
It took a crisis of affliction to show David the need to learn to keep God’s word. If you are in a crisis right now or have had one recently, could this be the reason? Is there something you’ve been ignoring? Remember, God wants you to fly, not flutter in the nest. He wants you to grow up!
4. WE MUST COME TO THE DECISION STAGE TO RIDE THE WIND…
The nature of danger or a crisis is that it forces us off the fence or, to use our analogy, out of the nest. We have to decide, “Am I going to move ahead or am I going to retreat? Am I going to face this or try to run away? We are products of our choices. With the nest suddenly gone out from under him and the ground coming up fast, the young eagle has a choice to make. He realizes, “I’ve gotta do something – Now!” So he chooses to fly or fall – to soar or smash on the rocks below – literally, to live or die. God often forces us to that place, have you noticed? Especially if we are reluctant to grow or pay attention to the need to grow. The prophet Joel reveals:
Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of Adonai is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon become dark, the stars withdraw their brightness. Adonai will roar from Zion and give His voice from Jerusalem. Heaven and earth will shudder, but Adonai will be a refuge for His people, and a safe place for the children of Israel. Joel 4:14-16
Is God dealing with you right now? Is this the issue? Is it your stubbornness or neglect? When will you decide?
5. DIRECTION STAGE. Will I fly with the wind? Against the wind? The stage of deciding which direction will I fly? The young eagle, falling fast, has decided he must do something. What is it? He must change direction! He must start going up instead of down. When we’re talking about our response to God’s dealing with us, the decision stage and the direction change stage are called repentance.
Repentance is a decision to turn away from evil and turn back to God. It takes place in the mind. In that way it is a decision, but since it is a decision to change, there will soon be a direction change that results.
Sometimes we are reluctant to change direction. Often it is because we haven’t really made a decision to change. Oh, we were sorry things were the way they were. Or we are sorry we got caught? We even cried some real tears over it. But we never really turned loose. We never really changed our minds.
Often Believers struggle with the habit of sin. They are sorry for the struggle. They don’t like the prospect of the consequences. They might even come forward during a service and let the whole congregation know. But there is no direction change as a result.
2 Corinthians 7:10 For the grief that God wills brings a repentance that leads to salvation, leaving no regret. But the world’s grief brings death.
According to this verse, you can have two people side by side who are sorry about their sins. Looking at them, they both look like candidates for eternal life. Yet, one of them goes to heaven, the other goes to hell. The difference? One of them had a sorrow that produced repentance – a change of direction. The other was just sorry. There was no repentance, no change. What are we talking about? We’re talking about God teaching us to fly – to live the faith life in a way that is pleasing to Him and brings us to maturity.
6. SO HERE COMES THE WIND, WE COME TO THE DOING STAGE. WHAT TO DO WITH IT? The adult eagle can teach her young to fly but she cannot fly for them. They must do it. Have you ever seen two adult eagles flying piggyback? Neither have I. It doesn’t happen. Flying takes effort on the part of each individual.
James 1:22-24 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deluding yourselves. (23) For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror— for once he looks at himself and goes away, he immediately forgets what sort of person he was.
The very common “do nothing” religion around us is false. It is an aberration of the devil. It is a cheap substitute for the faith of the Bible. Does this mean that we get to heaven on our own merits? Not at all! But God wants us to learn to fly.
Consider this: God often gave his blessings in Scripture while the recipients of the blessings were in the midst of obedience. Remember when Israel crossed the Red Sea? Moses said “Move forward!” The people obeyed. Then when the feet of the priests touched the water, it divided. When they crossed the Jordan on their way to the Promised land it was the same way. They moved forward, put their feet in the water, and it divided.
When Yeshua cleansed the ten lepers, he told them to go present themselves to the priest. Then, “as they were going, they were cleansed.” (Luke 17:14) The eagle learns to fly by striving against the gravity that is pulling him down – in short, by flying.
7. The Deliverance Stage is our final goal. This one is beautiful and it’s right in the text.
Look again at verse 11: “He spreads His wings, catches him, lifts him up on His pinions.” I am told that the adult eagle will actually swoop down and catch her falling offspring on her back and carry them back up to the home perch if they can’t fly. She will try again later. What a beautiful picture of what God does for us!
2 Timothy 3:11 What persecutions I endured! And the Lord rescued me from them all!
Psalms 34:19 Adonai is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those crushed in spirit.
2 Peter 2:9 Therefore the Lord certainly knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and how to keep the unrighteous being punished until the Day of Judgment—
God never leaves us to do it on our own. It’s just that we must be about the doing, in order for the deliverance to come. The promise of deliverance must be accepted. We must believe it and move ahead. We must be striving to ride the wind even if we can’t quite do it yet.
The seven stages of riding the wind: (1) Demonstration, (2) Discomfort, (3) Danger, (4) Decision, (5) Direction Change, (6) Doing (7) Deliverance. Where are you?
Is God teaching you how to ride the wind? If you are a Believer, there is no doubt about it! How is your personal “flight school” going? Are you cooperating or copping out? Have you seen any or all of these stages of God’s flight school in your life? You can be sure they are there now or will be there soon. What is your attitude toward them? Are you focused on the goal of being able to go “solo” or are you clinging to the comfort of the nest? Be sure that God will stir it up if you are reluctant.
And maybe, just maybe, you’ve wondered what is going on in the midst of all this. Maybe you’ve had some rough times recently and haven’t been able to figure out why. Perhaps now you have your answer. Be sure of these things:
God wants you to learn to ride the wind. He will put you through the wind lessons into flight school. You can ignore it, but it won’t stop the process. You can resist it, but it won’t stop the process. You can cooperate and learn to fly for Him! “Training” us to live the life of faith.