Deuteronomy 32:11-12 (New International Version)
11 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.
12 The LORD alone led him;
no foreign god was with him.
Imagine what it would be like to have such a ride; on the wings of an eagle. The "pinion" is the outer rear edge of the wing of a bird. I don't know about you, but that would not be my first choice of location if I had to ride on a wing. Clinging on, somewhere close to the shoulder is where I would prefer to be!
I'm reminded of that expression, "A wing and a prayer," which was coined in 1942 in a song by Harold Adamson, about a plane limping home from a bombing raid.
Though there’s one motor gone,
We can still carry on
Comin’ in on a wing and a prayer.
A ride on the pinion of an eagle's wing could compare to limping home in a plane with one motor gone and a prayer would definitely be in order!
In order to encourage the little eagles to leave their comfortable nest, the parent eagles mess it up a little, stirring the nest so that spikes of twigs and wood stick out all over. Then the mother eagle flutters her wings at them, almost beating them to the edge of the nest. She then spreads her wings so that the little eagle can climb onto her back, which it does, as the only place of safety now. Only it's not as safe as it seems.
As the baby eagle clings on for dear life, suddenly the mother eagle dives, and the baby eagle, dislodged from it's perch, plummets towards earth, it's wings flapping, trying to catch the air currents but flopping around wildly due to inexperience.
Suddenly the mother eagle is below, wings spread wide, catching the baby eagle. Now I understand riding on the pinions. The wings are really there for comfort and support. Just the merest physical connection is all it takes for the baby eagle to try again and again until, through repeated practice, it learns to catch the air currents and ride the wind!
In my Daily Light for March 24, I've written something in the margin that seems applicable:
As we travel down the road--we come to places where there is no bridge and God says, "You're going to have to trust me on this one." Faith moves us out of our safety zone, into God's "I can do it" zone." Our faith does not rest in our ability to believe, but in God's ability to bring it to pass.
Just like the baby eagles, I grow when I am out of my comfort zone. But God teaches me twin truths then: What it is he made me to be, which I will never learn while I snuggle safely in my nest; and that, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Phil. 4:13
Deuteronomy 33:12 (New International Version)
12 About Benjamin he said:
"Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him,
for he shields him all day long,
and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders."