A Hug From God

Today just kind of wasn’t my day.

It started early, or rather, it didn’t. I startled awake five minutes after my alarm went off, suddenly remembering I had to pick up our junior groom at 06:00. It was 05:25. In a whirlwind, I flew up and got dressed before charging off to pick up the poor chap five minutes late alongside the road on an ice cold morning. By the time I was back and had helped push our head groom’s dead car into the safety of the yard, we were late. “Late” in my life means skipped rides or skipped meals. Also, something had stung my heart horse’s nose and given him hives and my favourite schoolie had trodden on my foot. Did I mention the ring was super boggy? I nearly wrote my youngster off lunging him in it.

And then, cantering around a turn towards a fence, my top horse fell. Almost on me. She’d slipped on the equally boggy arena footing – I can only blame sleep deprivation for my poor judgment. She bounced up like a rubber ball; I groaned to my feet. Nothing major, but I knew I’d be feeling it tomorrow. Coincidentally the day of my first lesson in preparation for my coach’s exam.

I dragged myself through the rest of the day, sore, grumpy, tired, whining, and decidedly ungrateful. I snapped at my sister and gave a sale pony a reprimand she didn’t really need, and it took every shred of my remaining patience to finish my first two lessons.

In short, I needed a good slap.

But God gave me a hug instead.

I was trudging through my last lesson, feeling the steady ache in my neck, wondering how I was going to do it all again tomorrow and trying my best for my client because they always deserve that, when I heard it. A high, surreal sound, thin and bright as a rapier blade catching the sun, and so pure and piercing that I stopped dead and stared into the sky. I half believed it was a dream. I’d only ever heard recordings. But then it came again, thrown joyously across the mighty sky.

The cry of a fish eagle.

It took me a second to find him, but there he was. A noble shadow cut into the sky; tremendous wings thrown wide in sharp silhouette, the white head outstretched. He wheeled on the dizzy heights with fearless grace. Higher than I could comprehend.

I have never seen a fish eagle here before, and I’ve lived here almost seventeen years. And you know I love to look towards the sky. The haunting cry rang out again, straight into my soul. My clients stared, but I couldn’t stop looking at that bright wingshadow, knowing exactly what lay so far beyond and yet closer than my breath. I reached up and wrapped my fingers around the cross I wear, fighting to keep down the tears.

 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. – Isaiah 40:31

I didn’t know what to say except thank You. I was a bit tired, so I’d scorned and snapped and sulked and stumbled, pushed away His commandments and whined about my small miseries to the God Who’d died a gruesome death to pay the price for me. I deserve punishment.

But what I got was a direct reminder that no matter what, He’s with me. That as long as I hang on to Him, exhaustion will fall away. My freedom, my flight would mock that of the majestic eagle who threw wide his sharp-edged pinions on the rising wind. My strength would be renewed because it wouldn’t be mine, but His in me.

I deserve death. But what I got was an embrace from God. Such is the inexplicable and inexhaustible and unlimited love of our Holy King.

So I fall to my knees and I surrender to the One Who will lift me up on eagle wings.

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