When the eagle turns 40, it has to make a hard decision: to either die or go through a long, painful process in a lonely place. But, if the eagle makes this choice—with courage—he renews himself in a painful way, including his strength, feathers, and beak, and can live for another 30 years.
Now, I am not an eagle, nor do I have to go through a painful process in a lonely place (or is that yet to come?). But, I am forty today, and as I was pondering about the choices the eagle has to make, I realized that many of us have a story about these three things: choices, courage, and pain.
Each of us are called to our own personal choices. No one else can make them for us. We can choose to avoid pain, to avoid making the choice, but it might creep in through another unexpected route. We all have to walk our own way and make our own choices.
There was a particularly sad period in my life, that the part of Scripture from Is. 40 has been so encouraging to me. It was for me a long process of pain and leaving things behind. But is that also not something we all have in common, all in our own different ways. A struggle in life, pain about loss of a loved one, sickness, deep disappointment, confusion, transition, loneliness, or them all mixed together? Who is having a life without any struggle or sorrow? But the hardest bit can be that God is so extremely untouchable. And far away.
27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
But, I also hope that you experience beauty and relief, for God’s understanding is unsearchable. It might take a long time to get to that point of peace and surrender, but it is a wonderful place to be.
I am now in a season in my life that I feel very blessed with all we have got. We still do have struggles—maybe not very much to be seen on the surface—but they are with us every day, and they also shape us in depending on God and trusting Him, which is still a hard and confusing choice sometimes.
At the bottom of it all, though, I would love to give thanks on this day for love, life, friends and family. This day is not yet over, and so many of you congratulated me and sent love and blessings. I feel so very blessed and loved by you all!
Anyways, back to the eagle: after that painful time in solitude, the eagle takes up his renewed wings and flew away and sang, maybe this song: “Nun lob’mein Seel den Herren” (“My Soul Now Praise Thy Maker”). Here it is in its original German.
In this translation, there is no mention of the eagle—only He who renews our strength (like the eagle) within. That is why I chose this song. It is also a childhood memory for me. When my dad was in his early thirties, he had a serious heart attack. When he recovered, I remember him telling us this about God, that renewed the strength of the young man.
I do realize that this blog post is a bit all over the place, blame it on my age or the end of the day, but I would love to close with this picture of my mom and me. It is worth acknowledging her on this day because she gave birth to me. I wish you could meet her. She is precious, loving, caring, and correcting, but most of all, she is a woman who taught us to pray. In addition to bringing me into the world, she was also the one who gave me The Push. And, she also needed a lot of courage for that.
Thanks for joining me on my birthday!