Amazed at the beauty of this awesome winged creature, I drew closer to the cage for an up-close-and-personal shot. My presence apparently spooked the hawk pair, and they both flew chaotically within the parameters of their wrought iron prison. Quickly, my amazement morphed into sorrow as I pondered the limited life of these fowl that were clearly created to fly.
I have mixed feelings about zoos and other wildlife “sanctuaries”. There are many reasonable arguments for the need of such places as they help us higher level beings observe the habits of such lower life creatures. We can study their environments in order to improve our protection of their living quarters. Our sheer enjoyment at the antics in communication of those we understand little about is worth the ticket price. But sometimes I wonder if we truly “get” the wonder of God’s creation in a natural setting…a place that simply cannot be replicated.
Hawks were just frankly not meant to be caged.
And neither were humans.
As I observed the pair more closely I thought about how many humans are in cages of their own making. Iron bars of lies become locked doors when not addressed. Identity issues arise creating doubt that we will ever become what we were intended to be. Old wounds surface inflicting pain and causing us to believe we will never fly again. How many of us have locked ourselves up convincing ourselves (and loved ones?) that our potential is limited and the safest place to be is out of “harm’s way”. As our trust muscles atrophy, our motivation to soar fades away and status quo becomes our normal. “Please don’t ruffle my feathers or rattle my cage!”
But loved ones, we were meant for more. The Creator saw fit to give even his first humans purpose by tending the Garden and naming animals. And though there’s not a whole lot recorded as to exactly what Adam and Eve experienced, I can only imagine the magnitude of exploring the vast creation God placed in front of them for their enjoyment.
But getting back to us…Look around you…inside you. Where are the walls? The bars? Can you identify the time when you lived more free to be His Beloved? Has life, your family of origin, the church, or society so defined you negatively that you don’t believe you will ever live unfettered again?
Stop and listen to the words of Jesus as He presented Himself in the first public appearance in the temple: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” (Luke 4:18-19, NLT)
He, my friends, has the keys to your cage with the power and authority to appropriate them. He’s jangling them in full view patiently waiting for your resistance to lower and accept His offer to not only set you free, but to give you more purpose and joy than you could ever imagine. He invites you into the healing of your perceived broken wings. He encourages you to step out into the unnerving unknown, pursue your soul-healing, and take off to places He determined for you before the world came into existence.
I’m not a spring chicken anymore (!) but with Christ, there are days I feel like a hatchling. The shell is breaking open and the struggle is real. But my Father’s hands have been the incubator for my breakthrough to become a reality. And as I’ve opened my veiled eyes to a potential I never knew, He is causing my wings to soar to heights I never dreamed possible. Not for prestige, or payment, or power, but purpose. The journey isn’t complete (and will never be this side of Heaven) but I continue to pursue healing through counseling, prayer, integrating the Word into daily life, and connecting with emotionally healthy people who are living the “abundant life” that Jesus spoke of.
It’s a painful existence flying around with larger than life wings within the confines of a coop. You were made for so much more. Please heed His invitation to be set free. It’s not only possible in Him, but it is clearly His will for you. What are you waiting for?
The sky’s the limit.