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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

FRESH AIR: SOARING WITH THE EAGLES


This month, we at ChristianWriters.com are blogging on the theme of "fresh air." (See the links to the right.) I love this theme so much that I will post a different blog about "fresh air" every Wednesday this month.

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Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV)


I loved Peter Jackson’s fabulous film recreation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic trilogy, Lord of the Rings. In The Fellowship of the Rings, we first meet the giant eagles. Gandalf the Gray has gone to his mentor, Saruman to coordinate their effort to fight evil. But Saruman has “turned to the dark side” and places Gandalf atop the tower, with no possible escape.


Or so we think. Gandalf summons the eagles and in a dramatic scene, he leaps from atop the tower. His mane of tangled hair flies across his face as he falls, until he is caught by a giant eagle. As the camera angle changes, we see Gandalf facing directly into the fierce storm as he soars effortlessly into freedom on the wings of the eagle.

We see the giant eagles again in The Return of the King. Frodo and Samwise have destroyed the Ring of Power only to find themselves stranded on a rock surrounded by molten lava. Frodo can no longer even imagine the taste of strawberries, so worn out are our two heroes. But as they begin to lose consciousness, Gandalf arrives with three eagles who whisk Frodo and Samwise to safety.

Tolkien wrote the epic to tell a specifically Christian message: at the end of time, God will triumph over evil. In our non-epic lives, we too have battles; some large; some small; some internal and some with the world. We may have no escape from our prison and no place to go if we could, but like Gandalf, we too can take a leap of faith. We can fall safely into the arms of Jesus. If, like Frodo and Samwise, we are surrounded by fires in life, God can lift us out and show us how to soar.

When I read Isaiah, I picture these scenes from Lord of the Rings. When I am weak and weary, with no strength of my own; when I have come to the end of a journey and cannot take one step further; when I can no longer even recall the taste of strawberries, God is still there. He can carry me. He will help me soar, as I trust in His strength and power.

In fact, every single moment of every single day as I focus on God, I can be revived by the fresh air that surrounds me as I soar with Him. The fresh air of God breathing new life into us.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for symbolism in great literature that helps us glimpse your character, your power and your glory. Remind us that when we feel like we are imprisoned in a stale, lifeless jail, you are there, ready to set us free. Help us to soar with you. Renew our strength for whatever you have planned for us to accomplish in your name. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? How does Isaiah speak to you? What image does it call up to you? What symbolism in Lord of the Rings spoke most to you?



Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV)

11 comments:

Sheila said...

Great post, Carol. Isaiah 40:28-31 is probably my favorite passage. I say *probably* because the Bible contains the words of life, and, so, it is difficult to choose just one favorite. *Lord of the Rings* is probably my favorite book (I know there are three books, yet they all make up one story). Very encouraging post--love it!

Sheila said...

To answer your questions--eagles have always been a symbol of power and just reading this passage gives me renewed energy. Isn't it wonderful words contain such power?

The Christian symbolism in LOTR that most moves me comes at the end of the book. When Frodo enters the ship to sail away, I always cry like a baby. He leaves his friends and life behind to go to a better place. I cry for the sorrowing of his friends and, yet, I also cry for the happiness he will find. I am crying now just thinking about it. Got to go find the Kleenex!

Victor Travison said...

I'm not as familiar with The Lord of the Rings as I am with Narnia, Star Trek, and others. But Isaiah is known for using the eagle as a symbol of strength and of God's omnipotence over our lives. Thanks for a great post, Carol.

~ VT

From Carol's Quill said...

@ Sheila - handing you a cyber Kleenex so we can sob together. Thank you for the thoughts.

From Carol's Quill said...

@ VT - Oh, I love Narnia and Star Trek, too. My favorite Christian thought about Star Trek original series was when they got to the planet of sun worshippers and discovered at the end that they were "Son" worshippers. Perfect!

MGalloway said...

Great post...

God used this particular set of verses frequently when I was going through a very difficult time in my life. In fact, I remember asking one day in prayer what to do next. For a week straight, these verses kept coming up in Bible studies, on the radio, in books, etc. The basic message was that I needed to wait, and well...I'm glad I did because only God could see the larger picture.

From Carol's Quill said...

@ MGalloway - God surely orchestrates things to provide the words we need to hear exactly when we need to hear them. Thank you for sharing that.

Traci B said...

Carol, this is a wonderful post! I love those images from the LOTR movies too; the triumph and freedom embodied in those soaring eagles makes my spirit soar.

There are so many passages in Isaiah that speak to me, and my pastor favors the verses out of Isaiah 55 which remind us that God's thoughts and ways are higher than ours.

As for the LOTR movies, I enjoy how they brought the books to life. Truth to tell, I didn't read the books until after I'd seen the movies. Watching the films made it easier to read the stories because I could visualize what I was reading.

Victor, if you haven't rented the videos yet, you should. The movies are a bit longer than typical features, but they are so worth watching.

From Carol's Quill said...

@Traci - I agree--Victor you should rent LOTR. First we bought the VHS version; then decided to go for the DVDs; then got the "extended versions" which are even better (and longer). One of these days we'll break down and buy the BluRay. Or maybe we'll wait for the interactive version so we can sit next to Gandalf on the eagle. :-)

Thank you Traci for your thoughts. I agree that the movies make the books better. I read the books 25 years ago. They were tough to get through. You're inspiring me to read them again!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Thought maybe this was just for Author's?
Not not too sure if this the correct place for me to write.

Hi Carol,
I love what you have done with your blog !
I haven't been on here is a very long time.

Somtimes I have a very hard time hearing Gods's voice in my heart/soul.Even when I'm most quiet.

I have really been struggling with the unexpected death of my little sister, Regina.My heart feels so very sad.
Bob,Justin,Hati,Ananda, and I,were at the U2 concert in Oakland, last Tuesday night.All of a sudden while surrounded with everyone singing and clapping,having a great time,I come undone,just sobbing,weeping for her.I find myself weeping in my sleep.
Her birthday is in a few weeks.

Since she died from an accidental-suspishes(sp?) drug overdose,
I have not felt the peace of Jesus in my heart nor felt free like an Eagle, very often.

I miss you, love you, and appreciate you,more than you know.
Love,
Mary k.
ps Not sure what to put here, so I will just be anonymous.But you do know me !

From Carol's Quill said...

@ Mary - I will write you a note. And will pray for you to feel Jesus' peace.