"Life on Wings" - by Dr Ern Baxter - Part 2.
Part 2 of this classic sermon.
Mounting Up on Wings: The writer of Proverbs said that among those mysteries of the universe were too hard to understand, one was the "mystery of an eagle in the air". The symbolism of this passage is the Christian's inexplicable potential which is like the eagle's, which can fly higher than any other bird and never wiggle a wing. What do I mean by "wiggle a wing?". Did you notice that the psalmist said that eagles "mount up" and not "flap up"? Eagles were not made to go flapping about. They were created to soar high and free. Eagles learn to fly without struggling becasue they understand the air currents. An eagle will perch on a rock and wait, testing the winds. When the right wind is blowing, he lifts into the air with a royal scream. Herein is one of the eagles secrets in being able to mount up - waiting. Those who wait, says the scripture, will be the ones to mount up. "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength".
High Flying: Something in an eagle demands that he fly higher than all the other birds. He often flies well beyond the view of the naked eye. He rises past the telephone wires, where the crows screech, "Caww, caww, stop and we'll give you the latest on the Sunday school superindendent, Caww, caww". But the eagle calls back, "I'm not interested! I'm going up beyond the clouds where I can look full into the face of the sun". Even though an eagle flies high into the blinding sun, he is equally adapted to dark mountain valleys. He has two sets of eyelids. With his earthly eyelids he can see perfectly well down at ground level, or he can roll down his heavenly ones and play in the glaring glory of the sun.
Christians must know how to walk on the earth as well as fly in the glory. It is possible to become so spiritual that we cannot see reality in our daily lives. As the eagle mount high above the clouds, he sails those great air currents into the very Presence of God. You and I are not fashioned for the dirt and pollution. We were not born to be dirty crows on a telephone line. We are appointed to the pure worship of God, to climb into the rare atmosphere of the holy of holies.
How High Can We Go?: Some ask, "How far can I go Baxter?". "Enoch walked with God and he was not: for God took him" (Genesis 5:24). That eagle flew high! One day he flew so high that God said, "Enoch, it is closer for you to come up than to go back". How high? George Mueller was once told by a captain of a ship on which he was a passenger that the ship could not make New York on schedule because of dense fog that had set in, "We'll see about that" said Mueller. As Mueller prayed, the fog lifted and the boat hastened in towards his waiting appointment in New York. People can say, "I don't believe that God lifts fog!". They will stay in a fog but God lifts fogs for people who have the faith to have fogs lifted.
God has made us eagles like Himself and He wants us to fly! All the experiences that we become so excited about - our conversion, our baptism in the Holy Spirit, the spiritual gifts - are but a part of the introduction to the supernatural life that demands us to become God-like, because we are partakers of the divine nature.
When Eagles Die: Every eagle will have his downtime. He may be sick or molting but he never panics. He finds a rock and sits there letting the healing power of the sun do it's work. If you find a low place in your life, do not start running around trying to find God - for the people will say to you, "Here is Christ, there is Christ" and it will bring you frustration. David said, "I waited patiently for the Lord" (Psalm 40:1). God often has a work to do and all we are asked to do is to wait. There will come again a time of mounting up on wings, but the waiting must come first. Every eagle knows when his time for death has come. He finds a high rock where he can watch the setting sun and settles down to wait and then dies watching the sun.
There is only one picture on my study wall and it is that of my saintly maternal grandmother. When I was a very young child, Grandma took over much of my rearing. My earliest memories are that of toddling up to the picturesque little picket fence in front of her home on a Saturday morning, looking forward to all the delicious smelling goodies that she took from the cavernous depths of her vast old-fashioned oven. How I loved her. Because of the religious confusion that was in our home, I walked in rebellion as a teenager, but Grandma never let go of me. She was living in our home by that time and I can remember well stumbling into the house at three or four o'clock in the morning and seeing her light shining under the door. I could hear her sobbing, "Oh God, oh God!". Even though I usually felt like kicking the door down I knew that it meant something.
Grandma's Answer: The time came when God got me. I had dissipated my life until I was a moral, physical and spiritual wreck before He found me. Using what musical talent I had, I set out in the Lord's work and soon found myself in the ministry. Grandma ended up moving with us to Vancouver, BC where I found had my first important charge. She came to every service and sat in the front row and just smiled at me. (I don't think she heard a word I said). She was saying, "You answered Lord, You answered". She was nearly eighty and had the most beautiful white hair that you ever saw. Every day for four hours Grandma would sit out in her old rocker and rock out an anthem of praise and supplication to God for me. Her prayers sustained me in a way that I was to realize only after she was gone. One day when I was with her she suddenly said, "I'm going home". "Home?" I asked, "Home where?". "I'm going home to be with the Lord" she replied as if it were something quite ordinary.
"Oh Grandma" I objected, "don't do that!". "Yes" she insisted, as though she and the Lord had talked it over and it was setlled. A little unsure of what to make of it, I asked, "What are you going to do?". Quite positively she answered, "I am giving notice on my room. I will go back to the prairies to spend Christmas with the children and then I am going home".
Looking Into the Sun: That is exactly what she did. With Christmas only three months away, she went back to the prairies for the holidays, wrote her Christmas cards and put everything in order. When she was ready, she called all the children together and did all the decent things that one does when one dies. She called for the pastor and had him read her favouite Psalm (she was two verses ahead of him by memory) and told everyone goodbye. When she had attented to everything she turned her face toward the sun and slipped into the Presence of God. Grandma was an eagle. She died as eagles die, looking into the sun. Somehow I think this is how saints were meant to step into eternity.
There is great reward in God for those who will dare to be eagles and learn to soar into what God had purposed us to be. God is calling us to press into Him and rise higher in Him. He is calling us to new heights of divine awareness, new decisions and a new set of priorities. He is calling us to be eagles.