"As an eagle stirreth up her nest"

The observant may learn many useful lessons from nature, and the Bible abounds with similes and metaphors taken from the daily lives of plants and animals. The story of the good shepherd, the parable of the lilies of the field, of the sower and the seed, all these are well known to Bible students, and may easily be understood. But some references are not so apparent at first glance, as for instance the passage in Deuteronomy, chapter 32, verse 11. There we read, "As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings." This, as a simile of God's love and care, has a very beautiful and metaphysical meaning.

An observer of nature had for some time been watching an eagle's nest, high up on the mountain crags, above a pine forest. From the rocks to the trees below was a long sheer drop, and the naturalist had great difficulty in climbing to a point of observation from which he could see the eagle's nest. He was finally rewarded by being able to watch therein two little fledglings just about ready for their first flight. He resolved to observe this experiment. It seemed to him that the mother bird was urging on her young ones with encouraging calls and nudges to undertake the initial journey into the world below. The two eaglets were perched on the edge of the nest, which was composed of dry sticks. At last one decided to take the plunge, and was soon floating down towards the safety of the tree tops. But the second eaglet seemed overcome with fear, and clung on to the loose sticks on the edge of the nest. The mother eagle flew round and round with little calls of encouragement and an occasional gentle push. Then she tried flying down and calling to the little one to follow; but all to no avail. There it clung, quite paralyzed with fear. Then the observer saw the mother eagle do something very surprising. She swooped down on the nest, and with a quick action of her beak pulled away the supporting twigs from under the eaglet, so that it was flung into space. Thus rudely plunged into the ether, the little fellow flapped his wings frantically, with the result that he was exhausted long before he could reach the tree tops. But ah, the wonder of mother-love! The mother eagle had been close above him all the time, and when she saw that he could go no farther without dropping, she swiftly spread her broad wings and slipped them under him until he was sufficiently rested to continue the flight, which he presently did successfully, and without further evidence of fear. He had learned to fly, and had gained in confidence and strength. What wisdom was expressed through the mother eagle, who, although stirring up the nest and seemingly doing an unkind act, was in reality bestowing a blessing!

October 18, 1924

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