The Red Shouldered Hawk lifted from the metal fence with its slim body and long tail. Broad and squarish wings boosted this pale headed beauty into the blue sky. As I gazed upward, the fine reddish brown underparts and checkered black and white tail and flight feathers were evident as the bird soared through the air.
With the flap of its wings, the hawk took off moving with a circular formation into the atmosphere. Birds fly in updrafts of warm air called thermals. These thermals lift them within columns of rising air and then the bird rides the air currents climbing to higher altitudes without expending much energy. Hawks rise quickly to thousands of feet within thermals and then glide in the direction of their landing place. They soar with the air and see clearly the world around them from their elevated view before preparing for touchdown,
Soar – To fly or rise high. To maintain height in the air without flapping wings.
I watched as the hawk rose high above the earth and moved rather effortlessly with the current. The grace of the smooth sailing bird captivated my focus. With wings slightly forward in a perpendicular fashion to the body, the Red Shouldered Hawk soared through the air.
In the book of Job, God pointed out that the eagle soars at His command (see Job 39:27). This caused me to ponder the presence of God within the air currents. While hawks and eagles soar with the assistance of thermals and air currents, ultimately, God’s power provides the energy and sustaining efforts.
Do you notice God’s power, energy, and presence sustaining your life?
If I am honest, sometimes I don’t recognize all of God’s power. Sometimes I take for granted each breath I take. Sometimes I fail to recognize that God’s power keeps the earth turning, the tides restrained, and relationships in tact. Sometimes I forget about human limitations and that only God provides true strength. Sometimes I strive to complete a project rather than soar on the power, energy, and presence of God Almighty.
Just as the hawk learns to ride the thermals and currents, we must learn to allow God’s forever presence and sustaining power to carry us through the highs and lows of daily living. Initially the hawk lifts off from its perch and flaps its wings and then the forces within the atmosphere provide movement and direction so it soars.
What does “flapping your wings” look like?
Before riding in the current, there is intention to soar. I believe “flapping our wings” looks like spiritual rhythms. Practices lift us with the intention of attuning to God and allowing Him to move in and around us. These spiritual exercises consist of commitments to Scripture reading, prayer, silence, worship, journaling, meditation, study, service, labyrinth walking, creation care, fasting, repentance, corporate gathering, spiritual conversations, and others.
Reflect on practices that allow the intention of your soul to soar with Jesus.
A meaningful scripture that allows my mind and heart to ride the thermals and soar with Jesus is Isaiah 40:28-31.
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 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 be faint.
I find myself ruminating on each phrase of Isaiah’s words and incorporating them into my daily simple prayer with God. This is flapping my wings. By meditating on these verses I mature and see more clearly, allowing God’s abiding companionship and life-giving strength to guide me through the hardships and victories of each day.
When I ponder verse 31, my imagination remembers and pictures the soaring hawk. I ruminate on this verse and begin to soar.
- “Those who hope in the Lord” – I choose to place my hope, longings, and trust in God alone.
- “will renew their strength” – I’m not sure how this happens, but in the heavenly places God gives me strength spiritually and physically when my hope rests in Him.
- “They will soar on wings like eagles” – Soar involves very little effort; here is ease as the eagle floats with the wind. Similarly, there is ease when we move and glide with the Spirit as we hope in the Lord.
- “they will run and not grow weary” – God offers perseverance through life; activity designed and ordained by God actually sustains and energizes our soul.
- “they will walk and not be faint” – Even when we slow our pace, by God’s grace and presence we are strong, neither shaken nor off balance.
Look up into the sky this week. Notice the birds; you might even see a hawk or an eagle. Gaze as the bird glides in the atmosphere carried by the thermals and air currents. To get there, the flying creature had to flap their wings. Are you flapping your wings? In what ways do you engage spiritual rhythms that lift your intentions upon God?
Engage in practices with the aim of gaining Christ and moving in His flow. After you flap your wings, soar.
Soar with Jesus. Let God be the power, presence, and energy sustaining your life.
Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
2 Peter 3:18
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
Does the eagle soar at your command and build its nest on high?
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Read these recommended books to fill your soul.
Ruth Haley Barton. Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation. Downers Grove, IL. 2006.
Tony Jones. The Sacred Way: Spiritual Practices for Everyday Life. Grand Rapids, MI. 2005.
Sprinklings of Truth: Soak in meaningful songs. Check out these music videos to lift up your spirit.
Meredith Andrews.Soar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WiAv9Eghvw
Bethel Music. It is Well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNqo4Un2uZI
Puddles for Prayer: Please pray for these upcoming speaking engagements.
September 19 – Castle Rock, CO. Center in God’s Love Spiritual Retreat. To find out more and register:<https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040e4bafae2aa1f58-center/p>