Today my daughter and I saw an eagle in our backyard. It perched on a telephone pole 20 meters away. I picked up my toddler, and pointed to the eagle, also fearing that the eagle would scout her as possible prey. We stood in awe for a few seconds beholding this magnificent bird of prey. And then…it flew away.
I’ve never seen an eagle in any backyard of mine…..ever. For about a half hour afterwards my heart was still captured with a sense of reverence. That feeling like something is pressing down on your heart. It’s not a bad feeling, but a bit scary. You know you’re in the presence of something great. It’s a moment that makes your soul stand still and take notice. The whole experience is engraved on your heart.
I’m not a bird watcher, so I don’t know what kind of eagle it was. But I do know just enough to distinguish a falcon/hawk from an eagle. This experience makes me think of all the saints of old who encountered the living God. Just like me, many of them were going about their daily business, not expecting or praying or even feeling ‘spiritual’. Abraham was returning from a military extraction operation when he encountered the priest of the Most High God (Genesis 14:14-24; Hebrews 7:1). Moses was tending sheep in the backwaters of the desert when he beheld the Consuming Fire (Exodus 3). Saul of Tarsus was on a murderous campaign when Christ walked into his life (Acts 9).
All these encounters with the Divine Trinity left these men and those un-mentioned, with a sense of awe. Many of them only heard of God before, but now their eyes saw Him. Just like me, who can’t give you much detail concerning the kind of eagle I saw, yet knew that I was in the presence of a magnificent bird, these men knew they were in the presence of the Everlasting. Something inside of them cried out, “Lord!”
Luke recounts how Saul reacted to the Damascus visitation: he was ‘trembling and astonished.’ If an encounter with Christ does not awaken the fear of God in us, then I suspect we did not encounter the Messiah of Nazareth. Authentic meetings with the Divine leads to a transformed and fruit-bearing life. Just think of the three examples above: Abraham decides to give 10% of all he owned to honour Melchizedek, Moses is used by God to deliver the Jews from Egypt and Saul becomes the greatest missionary church planter the church has ever seen.
One of the Creator’s splendid creatures left an indelible mark on my psyche today. I can just imagine what mark the Creator will leave on us in a real God-encounter. Let’s pray together.
Abba Father, you are truly magnificent and spectacular.
One glance of you grips my heart with awe,
The grace and grandeur and might and majesty of the eagle
left me pondering and still
A millions times more You leave me speechless, breathless, undone, dumbfounded
wretched, comforted, satisfied, encountered.
Help me to love you deeply in obedience
Every day make Your home with me: Father, Son and Spirit!