There is a state park just over two miles north of my home where overhanging trees decked in Spanish moss shade the road, swampy lowlands surround and sometimes flood the road, and the Florida ecosystem is abundant with bird life. Once the northbound road passes the state park, much of the scenery remains the same as you pass alternating forests, swampland, and the occasional residence.
This week I needed to go on a rare errand out that direction. It is a peaceful drive and a mile or two north of the state park I found myself the only car on the road with my thoughts wandering. Suddenly a large bird flew over the right shoulder ahead of me and I followed what appeared to be a raptor. Its identity wasn’t clear because I rarely get to follow a bird from behind at the same level. In awe, I slowed down to watch as it flew about 3 feet above the ground along the shoulder of the road. Its white tail feathers were spread, and its talons had a tight grip on an unfortunate, limp creature about the size of a rabbit apparent that a meal had already begun.
The avian must not have been pleased with me following because it dropped its feast on the grass and ascended to land on a branch over the road. Upon landing, a white head and yellow beak confirmed it was a bald eagle. I stopped and took a picture of the obviously disgruntled bird, and then suggested that it return to lunch since there were no other passing cars.
Later when I drove home, the remains of the meal were gone and the eagle flew from a gatepost perch farther into the palmetto forest in the company of a crow. I hope they celebrated their good fortune and meal in peace.
Why We Seek God
The eagle's instinct leads it to relentlessly seek its prey. In John 6:44 we read about how God seeks us intentionally, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (ESV). Every thought, every curiosity, every desire to know God and seek Him, exists because He has spoken it into our hearts. Like a boomerang returning to its owner, we seek God only because He has drawn us to Him.
The eagle’s deadly talons have been found capable of grip strength up to 400 pounds per square inch (psi). For reference, human grip strength varies by age and gender, but peaks in the dominant hand of the male around 120 psi and in the female at 75-80 psi. Just like the eagle, God’s grip is far stronger than any we can produce or fathom. In the grip of God, we are once again invited to respond to His action with the same reaction,
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23 ESV)
Finally, the eagle tastes and finds nourishment, sometimes alone, and at other times in the company of other hunters. The Bible is the timeless story of God seeking a relationship with us, and in a relationship both parties partake and reciprocate, thus tasting and experiencing together. David, the man after God’s own heart, said it like this:
Call to Action
Our eagle friends seem to be made in God’s mold because they thrive through the same pattern of seeking, holding, and tasting. It appears in the way David paints the picture of God’s goodness that the light focuses entirely on us as the recipients of love and goodness. Then we remember that we don’t seek the Lord without Him seeking us first, and David’s words take on the shape of God’s invitation and our response in the dance of relationship God intended.