He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; He led him about, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of his eye.
As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:
So the LORD alone did lead him
Have you ever seen an eagle stir up her nest? You know what happens. There in the nest, right on the rocky heights, are the eaglets. The mother eagle comes and, taking hold of them, flings them out of the nest! They were so comfortable there — but she flings them right out of the nest, high above the ground. They begin to fall straightway. They never have been in air before; they have always been in the nest.
Is that mother bird cruel? Why does she disturb the eaglets?
Watch her and you will understand. As long as you look upon the struggling eaglets in the air — you miss the point. Watch the eagle herself. Having stirred up her nest, "she spreads her wings to catch them." Where are the eaglets? Struggling, falling! Then what does she do? "She carries them on her pinions." She swoops beneath them, catches them on her wings, and bears them up.
What is she doing? Teaching them to fly. She drops them again — and again they struggle in the air — but this time not so helplessly. They are finding out what she means. She spreads her wings to show them how to fly, and as they fall again — she catches them again.
That is just how God often deals with you and I!
Has He been stirring up your nest? Has He flung you out until you feel lost in an element that is new and strange? Look at Him! He is not lost in that element. He spreads out the wings of omnipotence to teach us how to soar. What then? He comes beneath us and catches us on His wings. We thought when He flung us out of the nest — that it was unkind. No! He was teaching us to fly, that we might enter into the spirit of the promise, "They shall mount up with wings as eagles." He would teach us how to use the gifts which He has bestowed on us, and which we cannot use — as long as we are in the nest.
Imagine keeping eaglets in the nest! It is contrary to their nature, contrary to the purposes for which they are framed and fitted. There is a purpose in the eagle. What is it? Flight upward! Just so, there is a purpose in your life, new-born child of God! What is it? Flight Godward, sunward, heavenward! If you stay in the nest — you will never get there!
God often comes into your life and disturbs you. He breaks up your plans, extinguishes your hopes, and dashes the vanities that have lured you on. He spoils everything! What for? That He may get you on His wings and lead you to higher Christian development and higher spiritual purposes!*
The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms
* from Charles Ebert Orr, "Food for the Lambs; or, Helps for Young Christians" 1904