While visiting my son, Geoff, where he taught school in a south peninsula village, we walked up a trail that followed a river. He wanted us to see where he live trapped a mink to show his class.
After hiking about a mile and looking at the weir in the river, we started back. Then we saw the eagle perched on a stump alongside the trail. We slowly walked towards it. Instead of taking flight, it hopped off the stump and dragged one wing as it clumsily ran through the brush.
Should we just let it be or do something to help?
We followed it back to the river where it got entangled in the alders, dangling in the cold water. When it struggled to get away from the branches, its head went under water.
My older son, Mike, jumped in the river to help, but how to get the eagle without getting bit or clawed?
We shouted suggestions to him while he stood in the river with the cold water rushing over his knees. Taking off my windbreaker, I tossed it to him to put over the eagle's head. He scooped up the huge bird when its head was covered and held it upright against his chest by its legs. Mike had to hold it tight and hope the bird's sharp beak wouldn't peck at him. The strength it had was amazing.
After phone calls to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and an air carrier, we arranged to have it transported to Homer. We drove to Soldotna and turned the eagle over to a park ranger.
It was shipped to the Treatment and Learning Center in Anchorage, where the damaged wing had to be removed. They named it "Chatty" for the noise it made.
Fortunately, it survived.
The Lord reminded the Israelites of their deliverance and how Egypt suffered plagues before it happened. He likened their rescue to a flight on eagles' wings and said, "I brought you unto myself" in Exodus 19:4.
When we become weary the Lord invites us to wait on him to renew our strength. The scripture says in Isaiah 40:31 "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint."
While the wings of eagles in these passages are figurative, the rescue and help are real.
So it is with the promise in Luke 4:18. Jesus will perform a rescue because he said he preached good news for the poor, healing for the brokenhearted, deliverance for captives, recovering of sight for the blind and liberty for the bruised. While these human dilemmas may or may not be literal, they certainly occur spiritually, as well as emotionally and mentally.
Thankfully we can know what it is to be rescued by the Lord's love. He still does miraculous works of deliverance.
Mitch Glover is the pastor of the Sterling United Pentecostal Church on Swanson River Road at Entrada. Sunday services are at 10 a.m. with Sunday School for all ages and worship at 11 a.m. Bible study and children's church is held at 7 p.m. Thursday.
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