Trust, Gratitude, and Rising Above

          Crows become very protective when they begin nesting and hatching their eggs. They make their best attempts to drive off larger birds by harassing them and pecking their necks. Many of the birds respond to the crows aggressively, but it is common for eagles to not fight back, or quarrel with their attackers. Instead, they calmly widen their wings and rise above. They will continue soaring until they reach a height to where they will no longer be perceived as a threat. How often do we act like aggressively defensive crows and their violent responders when we should all be striving spiritually to rise above like eagles?

            In 2 Samuel 16, King David fled Jerusalem to escape the coup from his son Absalom. When he came to the town of Bahurim, there was a man named Shimei who belonged to the house of his predecessor, King Saul. When Shimei saw King David, he began to throw stones and curse him. David’s men wanted to kill Shimei for his disgraceful words and actions. However, David stopped his men by saying, “Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to” (2 Sam 16:11 ESV). David understood his sinful contribution that led the actions taken by Absalom and Shimei. As Eagles, how many times do we unknowingly, or even knowingly fly by the crow’s nest?

            Sometimes though, there are those pesky crows that attack no matter what we do. In 2 Corinthians 1:8b, the apostle Paul wrote about his experience as a child of God in Asia saying, ”For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.” Paul took no aggressive actions to merit the amount and level of the persecutions he faced throughout his life. Yet, Paul chose to have a righteous attitude toward the persecutions. He said that the purpose of trials, “was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again” (2 Cor 1:9b-10).

            The reason Paul was able to have an attitude of gratitude toward his suffering was because he trusted God and put his hope in Him. Gratitude requires, appreciation, attribution and action. You will not be able to find, or have gratitude for the blessings in the present if you do not have actionable hope for the future. God can grant us the hope of eternal salvation, but only if we choose to believe and trust Him. Isaiah 40:30 (NIV) reads, “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.” Will you choose to soar above the crows with God like an eagle, or fall short and succumb to the crows of sin?