I recently found myself in a state of free-falling. When circumstances were uncertain and changing, and when inside me I was falling apart. When prayers seemed flat, empty, powerless, retarded. God seemed like a nice thought rather than a present Savior.
This is when the foundation of faith was all I had to crouch down on. When those “Sunday school” answers were all I had to reflect on. When it was more motion and habit than reality and life. More religion than faith, more memorized rehearsal than relationship.
But I read something. An eagle will actually take hold of the nest in which her young are resting and flap her wings until all the familiar, comforting, safety is disrupted. One by one she will pick up her young and fly them into the currents of wind, and let go of them so that they feel the power under their wings. This is how they learn to fly. Far from the comfort and safety they once knew.
I read this word, “pinions,” which means, “the outer part of a bird’s wing including the flight feathers.” And I read this verse; “[The Lord is] like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions.” ~ Deuteronomy 32:11
And I realized, I have been in God’s flight training.
When what is comfortable and familiar fades away and uncertainty, loneliness, misunderstanding, persecution, and isolation takes over it is time to rejoice. I can say this coming through the experience of it. Because when God shakes up the little world we live in, He is waking us up to the reality of a bigger world, a bigger capacity, and a refined living.
Being shaken awake is not a pleasant way to wake up, especially if you are in a particularly pleasant slumber. But, it is effective. Being shaken releases what is ripe within you, like a tree shaken at harvest time. Both the good and the bad fruit falls, and the product of what has been planted is revealed. Strong winds that shake trees remove all that is dead, limbs and branches and leaves scatter into the wind. Only the living parts stay on the tree and survive those shaking winds.
In this way what is dead within us is shaken free – and this must happen because dead works weigh us down and become hazards within our lives. And by this we are strengthened and established because what remains will be closer to the foundation in which it is rooted. All that is in our life and not rooted in Christ will be lost, must be lost. What we labor over in our own strength only hinders us from being truly effective in life, and must be shaken out.
Being shaken brings clarification and unity. Mixing two colors of sand, as many couples do in their marriage ceremonies these day, unites the colors. When shaken the two combine and make one new color. When this happens you cannot separate each color out again. When you undergo a life shaking, God is brining unity, of you to Himself, or of the church as a body. Waking us up to what matters most. Blending and binding the pieces of a whole. Deepest bonds being forged under fire.
If it feels like there is no one who can understand, help you, counsel you, or comfort you, it is because no one is supposed to. God is stirring up within you a hunger and a restlessness for Him. He wants you to find your answers in Him – to seek Him out desperately enough to let what hinders you die off so that you might truly step into life.
I am reminded of the disciples, having to undergo the death of Christ, the man whom they followed and had given up livings and reputation for. The death they suffered was on multiple fronts, and they faced insurmountable uncertainty as they waited for something beyond their understanding, even though they had been told what to expect. The fruit of their shaking, free-falling, upheaval, dying to life as they new it was life as they never expected. Freedom. Passion. Love. Joy. Peace. Hope. Power. Faithfulness. A life rebuilt by God Himself. Set firmly in the foundation of Jesus, His son, and established by His hand.
“His work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.” ~ 1 Corinthians 3:13