Life Between Nests
Flying lessons from our creator, Part four (Read Part one)
Robin Weidner, October 2010
It’s been ten weeks since you made your first flight. As you’ve learned to fly, you’ve stayed near the nest, still depending on the great eagle for some of your food. One day after you make a long flight over a river, the great eagle lands beside you. Opening her wings, she uses her powerful legs to spring upward, spreading her wings to take flight. Imitating her actions, you soon follow behind, your eyes on the great eagle. As she circles around the sun, you follow, in larger and large circuits. Filled with confidence, suddenly you set off in your own direction, rising on the thermals.
Many unknown tasks lie ahead…establishing a hunting ground, surviving your first winter and building your own nest. You’ve unknowingly entered the most dangerous part of an eagle’s life cycle…the year after leaving the nest. But for now, you simply soar, letting the wind be your only guide.
Over the last two months, our lives have changed dramatically. Just days after Dave was unfairly ousted by his employer of 17 years (see part three), we were preparing to speak at a large conference for Christian campus students. There, while waiting for me in the hotel lobby, Dave ran into an old college friend, Jake Jenson.
Hearing about Dave’s circumstances, Jake told him about a full-time ministry position open in Boise, Idaho. By the time I arrived, Jake had definitively decided that we were the perfect couple for Boise, and that Boise was the perfect place for us. “Idaho?” I mused with a smile. “Where’s Idaho?”
Just weeks earlier, a dear friend of ours had told Dave, “If something happens to your position, you might consider Boise, Idaho. I hear they might be searching for a minister.” Was this God moving?
Later that day, Dave was on the phone with the leader of the church board there. I’ll never forget the words Dave shared afterward. “They believe that there is one couple out there that God is bringing them. Their hope is to find that couple.”
Amazingly, we weren’t looking and God directed our hearts to Boise. Boise was looking and God directed their hearts to us.
Now in three weeks—after two interviews and a twenty-year hiatus from the full-time ministry—we’ll be moving to Boise, Idaho to lead the Treasure Valley Church of Christ. We couldn’t be more thrilled. We’ve fallen head-over-heels in love with this heartsy church and beautiful city.
And we’re thrilled that we’ll be continuing the Secure in Heart and Purity Restored ministries with the partnership of the Boise church.
But yet even as my faith soars in response to God’s clear hand, the evil one stands nearby…wanting to focus my heart on the unknown and create the sense that I’m at risk—that I’d better get flapping my wings madly if I hope to stay in the air.
What does Satan want to steal? My confidence in God.
In Between Nests
“I said, ‘Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest…” Psalm 55:6
Although our decision was breathtakingly clear, relocating is more complex. Since we were offered the position in Boise mid-September, Dave and I have been to Miami for a leadership conference and back to Boise for purity workshops and preparation, and I’ve traveled to Las Vegas and Reno for women’s days.
With all this activity, selling our house has gotten off to a slow start. Yet, I felt at peace. God will take us step-by-step towards our new destination and new life.
And with an unsold house, it’s been difficult to decide what course to take in Boise. Yet, the uncertainties weren’t shaking my faith. If we need to, we’ll take a couple of suitcases and settle into someone’s spare bedroom until the details get worked out.
This peace la
sted until I returned home from Reno. On the way home from the airport, Dave shared the financial and spiritual tests he’d encountered over the weekend. Our joy in seeing each other turned into a tearful bump.
As my emotions escalated and my perspective disappeared, suddenly the three weeks ahead became impossible. With attending a family event one weekend, heading up a purity conference, a home to pack, and numerous people to see, I hit the wall.
That night I woke in the middle of the night with pain in my chest and anxiety throbbing through my veins. I was disappointed with myself, but I had no idea how to change gears. I desperately wanted my faith back.
I felt like a young eagle who, soaring and dipping with the wind, suddenly forgets the very nature of flying and begins madly flapping to stay airborne. Who was I to think I could fly?
The call out of the nest had been absolutely clear. But how would we proceed from here? How would it all unfold?
Resting…in order to soar
“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, quietness and trust is your strength…” Isaiah 30:15-16
The next day, Dave and I went to my place of peace—the river near my house. And God began his work of helping me slow and calm my anxious heart. First, with tears I shared all my fears and anxieties with my husband.
Knowing that I needed time alone with God, Dave took off on his bike. Now alone, I sat on a bench on a hill overlooking the river and listened to geese flapping their wings. As the sun broke through the clouds, my heart began to open to my creator as I was still before him.
Later, I sat down with Richard Foster’s marvelous book on prayer. The book flipped open to the chapter on the “prayer of rest.” With my heart more at peace, my faithful father began show me how I’d strayed from the path of the eagle.
“All of the grasping and grabbing, all of the controlling, all of the manipulative dynamics of life exhaust us. If only we could slip over into that life free from strain and anxiety and hurry! If only we could know that steady peace of God where all strain is gone…” (p. 93)
Nothing changed in that moment except my perspective. It was like God was saying, “Robin, all your striving is wasted energy. You can’t know my peace if you’re straining and fretting. Simply lift your wings and rest in my strength. I’ll help you fly!”
You see, eagles only soar when their wings are still. In fact, if an eagle began flapping furiously and wouldn’t stop, they would quickly expend all of their strength…and put themselves at risk.
When I live like it all depends on me, I prevent God from doing what he does best. He can only carry me when I relax into his capable arms. In his book, Foster points out that this is far from passive. Rather, we make every effort to enter his rest (Hebrews 4:11) participating in his work, both receiving and responding, as we trust him.
Waiting on the Lord
“Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” Hebrews 7:25
Think about it. If Jesus has the big issues covered, like my salvation, my human sinfulness and all the ways I fall short and give in to fear, won’t he take care of something as simple as taking down one nest and building a new one?
So what does it say to Jesus and God if I refuse to rest and trust in him? Or if I pull back, passively expecting him to do it all? This circles me back to the scripture that inspired this whole series on eagles…
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
Why did God say these words? What was he addressing? Let’s back up a few verses to Isaiah 40:25-27.
“‘To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One…He who brings out the starry hosts one by one and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God?”
Convicting words. What I hear God saying is that whenever I start acting like I have to control everything, or get anxious like I’m at risk, what I’m really saying is that I believe my way is hidden from God.
And when I forget he’s in control, I’m at risk to give into the ugly sinful desire to fret, worry, control, manipulate.
And our Father tenderly replies…If I am so in control of the universe that not even one star (out of billions) could go missing, then why would you think I’m not aware of, or able to take care of whatever you’re going through?
You see, flying like an eagle means putting our trust in our Father, that he and he alone will help us soar. It doesn’t matter if you’re weary…he’ll give you strength. It doesn’t matter if you’re weak, he’ll increase your power (Isaiah 40:29).
He doesn’t grow tired or weary. In fact, you can’t even fathom God’s understanding of your situation! (v.28)
When we walk, or even run, with our eyes on our Father, truly we can soar on eagles’ wings!
Read: Isaiah 8:17, Psalm 37:4-8, and Lamentations 3:22-26. Why is it so hard to wait when God’s plan are “hidden?” What situation do you find yourself fretting about? What does the psalmist suggest that we do? What does he say God will do?
Ask yourself: What is your normal response when you feel anxious? Do you start flapping your wings furiously? Or do you shut down and stop working altogether?
Listen to God’s Voice: “The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.” Isaiah 32:17
Share your struggle… And spread the message of Secure in Heart!
Fill in the blank and then post the following as your Facebook status or Twitter update with a link to this article.
“I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his plan when it comes to________________.
I will put my trust in him.”
Encourage your friends to do the same, and pray for each other! (See James 5:16.)
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