A MOUSE’S HEART OR LEARN HOW TO FLY?
by Wade Martin Hughes, Sr
I am pondering what kind of heart do I have? Am I learning? Where am I in the process of learning?
Here is a neat lesson on 7 steps to learn to fly. This is a powerful lesson, it is not all my work, I do not know the writer, but it is worth reading.
Let me preface this with a powerful little story.
Once upon a time there was a little mouse. The little mouse lived in great fear all the time. This fear dictated the mouse’s life.
He was afraid of his own shadow. He feared what might happen to him. The mouse could not learn that fear was doubt.
The little mouse’s fear made mountains out of molehills. Because of his fear he was very suspicious and weary of life.
The little mouse wished he could be a cat, then he would not have to be afraid.
One lucky day the mouse met a powerful magician. The mouse was amazed to watch the magician work.
The mouse went up to the magician in great fear and asked.
Please, Mr. Magician, I am so afraid, if I were a cat I would not have to fear. Could you please make me into a CAT?
The magician said sure, Abra-ca-dab-bra --- and the little fearful mouse turned into a cat.
The mouse, now turned cat, was so afraid that in great fear he hid in the corner. The new cat saw a dog and the dog caused great fear.
Later, the cat saw the magician again and said, I am so afraid, could you please turn me into a dog. I will be OK if I could just be a dog.
So the magician said, Abra-ca-dab-bra, you are now a dog. The new dog was so proud.
As the new dog ran through the woods, he heard a lion roar and in a geat panic, fear caused the new dog to run.
The dog was shaking in fear, he knew if he could just be a lion everything would be different.
The dog kept looking for the magician to add his new request, for he knew if he could become a lion he would have no fear.
Finally the dog found the magician. The dog barked to the magician, please, please can you make me a lion?
If I were a lion everything would be fine.
The magician said, Abra-ca-dab-bra, I turn you back into a mouse. You have a mouse’s heart. I could change you into anything, but you have a mouse’s heart and all you will ever be is a mouse.
You must learn to be satisfied. You didn’t like being a mouse. You didn’t like being a cat. You didn’t like being a dog. You will not like being a lion. You are a mouse at heart.
Abra-ca-dab-bra, be what your heart is. And the dog turn back into a mouse.
Are you wishing to be something or someone else? Is the pasture always greener over there?
God takes care of His people, and though we don’t always see it in such striking and noticeable ways, the Bible promises that He will take care of those who are His.
There is a beautifully graphic description of God’s care for Israel over in the 32nd chapter of Deuteronomy. I would like to show it to you, how God lovingly brings about change and maturity in the lives of His people. Please turn in your Bibles to Deuteronomy 32:9-14.
9. "For the LORD’S portion is His people; Jacob is the allotment of His inheritance. 10. "He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of a wilderness; He encircled him, He cared for him, He guarded him as the pupil of His eye. 11. "Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions. [God stirred them up and taught them to fly in freedom as opposed to the slavery they had known for over 400 years.] 12. "The LORD alone guided him, and there was no foreign god with him. 13. "He made him ride on the high places of the earth, and he ate the produce of the field; and He made him suck honey from the rock, and oil from the flinty rock, 14. Curds of cows, and milk of the flock, with fat of lambs, and rams, the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the finest of the wheat-- and of the blood of grapes you drank wine."
The passage goes on to say that, in spite of all God did for Israel, they ultimately turned away from Him and turned to idols.
What I want to zero in on is verse 11, the statement that pictures God’s care being like to the eagle caring for her young. Let’s read it again. 1.1 "Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions."
What a beautiful picture of how God deals with his people: a mother eagle training her young to fly.
There are at least seven stages that a young eagle goes through when learning to fly. These stages are also evident in God’s "training" us to live the life of faith. That is the basis of the comparison. As I describe them to you, listen and see if you recognize any of them in your life. I’ll give them to you first, then come back and explain each one. The seven stages are: (1) Demonstration, (2) Discomfort, (3) Danger, (4) Decision, (5) Direction Change, (6) Doing (7) Deliverance.
1. The Demonstration Stage
As the time draws near for a young eagle to begin flight training, the mother eagle will frequently push off from the perch where the nest is and hover above her young. In response, the eaglets begin to flap their wings wildly in imitation. It’s as natural and instinctive for them as breathing.
That is what verse 11 is referring to when it says the eagle "hovers" over its young. At this stage the eaglets don’t have enough feathers to fly, but they begin to develop their wing muscles. The key word here is demonstration. The eagle demonstrates flying for her young and they imitate her in response.
What a great picture to describe what God has done for us through Jesus! Jesus came to earth as Emanuel, "God with us," the Bible says. He demonstrated the kind of faith and life we should be leading.
A child quits crawling and learns to walk by watching adults walk around him.
We read in Romans 5:8 that "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
In 1 Timothy 1:16 we read, "And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life."
God hasn’t left us to figure things out on our own. He has cared enough about us to give us a living demonstration. Remember when Jesus said, "If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father?" Jesus was and is the perfect and indispensable demonstration of how we should live the life of faith.
We’ve spent a lot of time in Acts and the Epistles learning about the structure of the church. That’s great. We should do that. I wonder, though, if we’ve spent as much time as we should in the gospels, getting to know Jesus? Do we put forth as much effort in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, as we do in Acts?
Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:8, "Remember Jesus..." We must not forget the One who is the embodiment and demonstration of all we are called to be!
The next stage in the training of young eagles, and God training us is what I’m going to call
2. The Discomfort Stage
In verse 11, it says, "Like an eagle that stirs up its nest..." It’s one thing for those young eagles to flap their wings in the security of their down-filled home. It’s quite another for them to move to the edge, look over, and imagine stepping out on nothing! Naturally, they don’t want to do it. So the adult eagle does something the young eagles won’t understand until later. She begins "stirring up" the nest! She actually begins to poke through the bottom and tear the nest apart. The young eagles are literally forced to fly.
What often happens to us at this stage of God’s teaching the faith-life is that we begin to be bothered about something. We recognize that something isn’t right. We begin to get a little worried, a little anxious. There is a growing uneasiness in us. Something is out of whack and we don’t quite know what it is, or if we do, we are ignoring it. Like Job in Job 30:27, we might say, "My heart is troubled and restless..."
It can be about anything that is bothering us. A relationship. An unfulfilled dream. A stress in our lives. A fear. A weakness. An indulgence. We find ourselves thinking, "One of these days I’m going to have to start working on that." The trouble is, like the eaglet is reluctant to get too close to the edge of the nest, we, too, are reluctant to move out of our comfort zone and face whatever it is.
This is God stirring up our nest. He’s getting us ready for change. He wants us to face something we’ve not faced before, so He makes us uncomfortable. Do some of you know what I mean?
Perhaps He wants us to face our neglected finances. Maybe it is a relationship he wants us to mend or maybe even one He wants us to break off. Whatever the case, there is a growing discomfort and uneasiness in us that is hard to ignore.
You know, the sad thing is that some people live their entire lives in this stage. They cling to their nest like terrified eaglets, afraid to do anything about their problem. They’d rather live with discomfort than risk flying. "At least the discomfort is predictable," they think. "If I were to change, who knows what might happen?"
When we find ourselves stalled at the discomfort stage, we might understand why God brings us to the next stage of our learning.
3. The Danger Stage
Eventually, in the case of eagles, the mother eagle gets all the kids out of the nest. Have you ever seen a full grown eagle still perched in the nest of its parents, peeping like a baby for them to bring him something to eat? No, you haven’t, because one way or the other, he gets booted out of the nest with nothing between he and the hard ground but air. He either learns to fly or falls until his mother rescues him. Eagles weren’t meant to be nest-sitters. They were meant to fly! This danger stage isn’t mentioned directly in verse 11, but it is certainly implied.
God often allows a danger or a crisis to come into our lives that moves the issue we’re ignoring off the back burner. He sends us a wake up call. All of a sudden the pain gets so bad we can’t ignore it anymore. Suddenly we get fired or we have an accident or a serious illness. Perhaps a spouse threatens to walk out or a creditor starts foreclosure. Like the eagle’s nest, the bottom falls out from under our lives and we realize we’ve got to do something - fast!
It has probably happened to all of us. It happened to King David. In Psalm 119:67, it says, "Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Thy word." It took a crisis of affliction to show David the need to learn to keep God’s word.
If you are in a crisis right now or have had one recently, could this be the reason? Is there something you’ve been ignoring?
Remember, God wants you to fly, not flutter in the nest. He wants you to grow up!
Well, the danger stage quickly moves us on to the next stage in our training.
4. The Decision Stage
The nature of danger or a crisis is that it forces us off the fence or, to use our analogy, out of the nest. We have to decide, "Am I going to move ahead or am I going to retreat? Am I going to face this or try to run away? We are products of our choices.
With the nest suddenly gone out from under him and the ground coming up fast, the young eagle has a choice to make. He realizes, "I’ve gotta do something - Now!" So he chooses to fly or fall - to soar or smash on the rocks below - literally, to live or die.
God often forces us to that place, have you noticed? Especially if we are reluctant to grow or pay attention to the need to grow.
Is God dealing with you right now? Is this the issue? Is it your stubbornness or neglect? When will you decide?
The next stage is close to the decision stage.
5. The Direction Change Stage
The young eagle, falling fast, has decided he must do something. What is it? He must change direction! He must start going up instead of down. When we’re talking about our response to God’s dealing with us, the decision stage and the direction change stage are called repentance.
Repentance is a decision to turn away from evil and turn back to God. It takes place in the mind. In that way it is a decision, but since it is a decision to change, there will soon be a direction change that results.
Sometimes we are reluctant to change direction. Often it is because we haven’t really made a decision to change. Oh, we were sorry things were the way they were. Or we are sorry we got caught? We even cried some real tears over it. But we never really turned loose. We never really changed our minds.
Often Christians struggle with sin. They are sorry for the struggle. They don’t like the prospect of the consequences. They might even come forward in church and let the whole church know. But there is no direction change as a result.
Paul warned us in 2 Corinthians 7:10, "For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death."
According to that verse, you can have two people side by side who are sorry about their sins. Looking at them, they both look like candidates for eternal life. Yet, one of them goes to heaven, the other goes to hell. The difference? One of them had a sorrow that produced repentance - a change of direction. The other was just sorry. There was no repentance, no change.
What are we talking about? We’re talking about God teaching us to fly - to live the faith life in a way that is pleasing to Him and brings us to maturity.
6. The Doing Stage
The adult eagle can teach her young to fly but she cannot fly for them. They must do it. Have you ever seen two adult eagles flying piggyback? Neither have I. It doesn’t happen. Flying takes effort on the part of each individual.
The Bible says in Galatians 6:5, "Each one shall bear his own load..." In the realm of our learning we must put forth effort. The very common "do nothing" religion around us is false. It is an aberration of the devil. It is a cheap substitute for the faith of the Bible.
Does this mean that we get to heaven on our own merits? Not at all! But God wants us to learn to fly.
Consider this: God often gave his blessings in Scripture while the recipients of the blessings were in the midst of obedience. Remember when Israel crossed the Red Sea? Moses said "Move forward!" The people obeyed. Then when the feet of the priests touched the water, it divided.When they crossed the Jordan on their way to the Promised land it was the same way. They moved forward, put their feet in the water, and it divided.
When Jesus cleansed the ten lepers, he told them to go present themselves to the priest. Then, "as they were going, they were cleansed." (Luke 17:14)
The eagle learns to fly by striving against the gravity that is pulling him down - in short, by flying.
This sixth step of doing is critical to the young eagle’s learning to fly and it is critical to our growing up in Christ. We need to get with it when it comes to doing right.
7. The Deliverance Stage
This one is beautiful and it’s right in the text. Look again at verse 11: "He spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions."
I am told that the adult eagle will actually swoop down and catch her falling offspring on her back and carry them back up to the home perch if they can’t fly. She will try again later. What a beautiful picture of what God does for us!
Paul told young Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:11, "What persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord delivered me!"
In Psalm 34:19 we read, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivers him out of them all."
In 2 Peter 2:9, the Apostle tells us, "The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation..."
God doesn’t leave us to do it on our own. It’s just that we must be about the doing, in order for the deliverance to come. The promise of deliverance is there. We must believe it and move ahead. We must be striving to fly even if we can’t quite do it yet.
Is God teaching you how to fly? If you are a Christian, there is no doubt about it! How is your personal "flight school" going? Are you cooperating or copping out? Have you seen any or all of these stages of God’s flight school in your life? You can be sure they are there now or will be there soon. What is your attitude toward them? Are you focused on the goal of being able to go "solo" or are you clinging to the comfort of the nest? Be sure that God will stir it up if you are reluctant.
And maybe, just maybe, you’ve wondered what is going on in the midst of all this. Maybe you’ve had some rough times recently and haven’t been able to figure out why. Perhaps now you have your answer. Be sure of these things:
God wants you to learn to fly. He will put you through flight school.
You can ignore it, but it won’t stop the process. You can resist it, but it won’t stop the process.
You can cooperate and learn to fly for Him!
Lord, thank you for being patient with us. Thank you for not giving up on us even when we have not cooperated with You. I pray that You will help us see Your hand in our lives - even in the details. that you would strengthen us to trust if it.
I am open to response.
Adapted by Kyfingers@aol.com Wade Martin Hughes, Sr. Help me? Pass it on? Seven stages are someone elses thoughts, I just adapted them.