Turkeys and Eagles
There is a funny quote by an unknown writer that often comes to mind when I am fighting my way through the everyday world and need the strength to maintain my patience.
It’s hard to soar with eagles when you are surrounded by turkeys!
My computer crashed on Monday night and it has been a week of dealing with lots of different people and even some turkeys as you might imagine. The biggest turkey of the week was the unnamed company I had to call to see what the cost and time frame would be to get the recovery disc for the operating system. I navigated my way through the automated system speaking and punching in numbers trying really hard to maintain my patience which I was quite successful at until…I finally reached the area that I needed where upon the automated system informed me that I would need to go to the website to get that information and then disconnected the call with no other options. I then must admit I was not so patient anymore as I dialed back and began just punching in numbers hoping to speak to a real human and not an automated message. I really felt surrounded by turkeys.
This quote ruminated on my mind as I looked to this week’s focus verse and began to compare the turkeys to the eagles. Surprisingly I learned that turkeys seem to do a lot more than we often give them credit for just like some people we may encounter that do not know God or do not know Him to the fullest intent.Â Â So how do the turkeys compare and do we really want to be one?
Did you know for instance that turkeys can fly? They can according to the National Wild Turkey Foundation.Â They not only can fly but can soar for short bursts at up to 55 mph. They primarily do this to get in a tree to nest or roost. So they are like the people we meet that seem to have it all together and look like an eagle because theyÂ are ableÂ to soar but just do not have it together enoughÂ to really meet their potential and just settle for the tree top. Their appearance of successÂ looks like something we should admire but as we get to know and understand them better they just gobble and fly about with no meaning but often fool those around them because they gobble so loudly and fly successfully.
Turkeys also have excellent vision but only during the day and not at night. So like some people we encounter they really seem to know what they are talking about in the world sense but because they do not have the light of God within them they miss out during the night darknessÂ andÂ become frightened with the encounters that they cannot see andÂ just have to settle for whatever happens as they have no hope.
Turkeys can run pretty swiftly as they can do so up to speeds of 25 mph. So their physical ability makes them seem pretty physically fit. Why would a turkey need to run, you might ask? They have to run to get away from a predator or other things that frighten themÂ as they have no way to protect themselves. People who do not have the strength of God within them are like those turkeysÂ that have toÂ run away from their problems as fast as they can because they have no other way and no other hope to survive.
You don’t hear many people who claim they want to be just like a turkey, an eagle however is another matter. Eagles have long been admired as symbols of power and thisÂ is seen throughout the ages. Their soaring ability is outstanding andÂ is often aligned with the term freedom. Eagles seem to have extraordinary means in the bird world and are often associated with the word transcendence because of their ability outside of the normal limits. The ancient Sumerian civilization of the Old Testament times chose the eagle as their emblem of power as many civilizations have since because of itsÂ outstanding strength.
People like to compare themselves to eagles because of their many magnificent qualities. If we compare the eagles to the turkeys in terms of soaring well there is no comparison. An eagle can fly up to 10,000 feet and up toÂ 200 mph in a dive. SomeÂ ancient people believed that the eagles soared high enough to touch God’s face. Their flying ability is awe-inspiring to watch especially at such great heights.
Eagles mate for life unlike the turkey. I found this to beÂ interesting and aÂ good comparison for the strength of a relationship and how the emotional strength of a God approved monogamous relationship can have a great effect on the strength of people overall. The turkey however will mate with whatever turkey is available giving it no emotional binding or strength in that realm of its life. If weÂ compare people in the same way we can see that couples who have true meaningful monogamousÂ relationships seem to have an inner emotional strength that serves them overall as they come to depend upon each other.Â However a relationship with God will serve this purposeÂ better as people who have a strong monogamous relationship (placing no other gods like money, or success in the way)Â with God have an inner emotional strength of great measure.
Eagles are known for their bodily strengthÂ to gain the great heights they do in flying and they unlike the turkey do not have animal predators and have no need to run from fear. So in comparing eaglesÂ toÂ people who have the strength of God within them we see how it allows them to rise above the others and to soar knowing they have a future. Our focus verse this week is for all of us who need the hope and promise of life and a renewal of strength. A consolation perhaps of the trials we may face and the promise of theÂ ability to depend upon God for our strength to move forward. This week’s verse is Isaiah 40:31;
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. (NLT)
TheÂ Strength of theÂ Eagle
The prophet Isaiah was giving a message of hope to the people. He had spent a while giving them messages they really didn’t want to hear because it would force them to change their lifestyle but now he tells them the promises they will receive by trusting God in patient ways. They were waiting for a Savior to come and had to be patient for his arrival. GodÂ told Isaiah that things were going to be rough for a while but if the people would simply trustÂ in Him, God would see them through the hardships and He promisedÂ to deliverÂ a Savior. We can gain such strength for ourselves by listening to the message of Isaiah and following his words.
We know that God made good on the promise of a Savior when Jesus Christ came to earth and died aÂ horrible death for our sins. Christ rose above all the world to bring deliverance to us. Charles Stanley wrote about the symbol of the cross in a devotion that I read recently pointing out how we wear the symbol of the cross proudly as body adornments in the form of necklaces, bracelets, and other wearable art. We decorate our homes and churches with symbols of crosses, gravesites are often full of crosses, and Christian society has embraced the symbol of the cross as decorative means for many years as we see them created in all types of materials fromÂ precious gold to ordinary paper. But in the times that the cross was actually used it was a gruesome symbol.Â It was not used to adorn the body or decorate anything. It was a horrible way to die as it was a symbol of torture and no one wanted any reminders of its meaning. We have chosen to use the cross as the symbol of the Christian faith for without that symbolic reminder our faith would be based on very little and just another religion. If we will however remember what the cross was actually used for every time we see one it will help remind us that Jesus sacrificed himselfÂ to save us from our sins and the expectations of us areÂ very little in return but the riches of gain are so plentiful. If we will think about that cross and whatÂ Jesus suffered through for us we can gain such strength to move forward in our own lives. Paul tells us this in Hebrews 12:3;
Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. (NLT)
Such was theÂ love endured for us on that cross. This alone should offer us the means to move forward. It really is overwhelming to think about as Paul tells us in Romans 8:35-37. There is nothing that can separate us from Christ’s love and it is our victory to claim through Christ who loves us. We often feel we are at the end of all we can endure but if we will look to the cross we will find new strength to keep moving forward.
We may feel our troubles are overwhelming but through Christ we are not driven to despair as we are never abandoned by God. He will not destroy us as it tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:8-10. When we suffer for Christ we share in His death that all may see Christ through us. This is why we never give up as we are constantly renewed with strength through our belief in Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:16.
Popular Christian singer and songwriter Chris Tomlin along with writers, Louie Gigilio, Jesse Reeves, and Matt Maher wrote a beautiful song about gaining the strength we need because of what Jesus has done for us.
There’s a peace I’ve come to know.
Though my heart and flesh may fail,
There’s an anchor for my soul.
I can say, “It is well”.
Jesus has overcome.
And the grave is overwhelmed.
The victory is won.
He is risen from the dead.
I will rise when He calls my name.
No more sorrow, no more pain.
I will rise on eagle’s wings.
Before my God, fall on my knees.
And rise, I will rise.
There’s a day that’s drawing near.
When this darkness breaks to light,
And the shadows disappear.
And my faith shall be my eyes.
And I hear the voice of many angels sing.
Worthy is the Lamb.
And I hear the cry of every longing heart,
worthy is the Lamb.
[See Chris Tomlin perform this live]
We can gain peace and new strength by simply trusting God. We may not soar like an eagle on earth but our hearts can soar like an eagle every day knowing that one day we will rise and join Christ for all eternity. While we are here on earth though we will be able to keep running and not grow weary with our suffering and keep moving forward without fainting in the valley because we gain the strength we need through our patient expectation of the promises of God. ThisÂ gives us the hope we need to soar with God even though we may feel crushed by the surrounding turkeys.
I pray we all find a new strength this week as we all remember what Christ has done for us as we move into the beginnings of the EasterÂ celebrationsÂ with Palm Sunday and the Holy Week to follow.
We will rise above it all and one day soar into heaven as if onÂ the wings of the mighty eagle and there we willÂ find everlasting peace.
Love in Christ,
What are your thoughts?
Have you found the new strength given by trusting in God? Do you struggle with the turkeys in your daily life? Have you ever aspired to be a turkey? Join us in discussion on how you find your strength to move forward when surrounded by the turkeys of this world?