Can this marriage survive the eagles?

The Preacher’s eagles—many dozens, collected over years—have flown.

 Eagles have always inspired Christians. The Bible makes many references to the majestic lord of the skies, none better known than Isaiah’s reminder to the downtrodden Israelites: “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).” Elsewhere, scripture refers to God sheltering and giving courage and strength to the faithful who patiently trust in his sovereign timing.

The birds once decorated Rick’s ministry offices. Since neither of us has a dedicated office in our new (far smaller) home, they’ve found other places to perch. Some of them fill a tall display case. We have an eagle clock in the bedroom. Eagle pictures hang on several walls and more decorate the glass panels of a living room lamp. Several eagles fish over the flowing stream of a small fountain, and a small painted eagle rock sits among a display of succulents.

The other day the Preacher unpacked a small eagle-themed jackknife collection.

“What are you going to do with those?”

“Display them!” Positively gleeful.

I balked. “Don’t think so. Enough already. I draw the line at knives.”

“Look at these, Nana,” interjected grandson Benjamin, his biggest supporter. He opened one of the cases and pointed to an intricately carved handle. “They’re ART!”

“I don’t think so,” I said again, for which I earned stinkeye from the pair of them. This morning when I left for work, the knives still sat on the table beside his chair.

The Israelites had big troubles. Captivity. Political opression. Invasion by enemy forces. Fear of abandonment by God. How deeply they craved the reminder that God would remain faithful as they remained faithful to him. If they had a Dollar store, a Bradford Exchange, or a Fine Art catalogue, they may have had eagle decorations all over their homes too.

On a far smaller scale, we’ve had trials over the years, too, the Preacher and I. But how many eagles does one man need to remind him that God has always been and always will be faithful? And what, I ponder (judgmentally, I admit) determines the line between worshipping the God who made eagles and idolizing their likenesses?

We’ve reached a new stage in our marriage. Learning to accommodate two independent partners in a small house requires new practices of love. New compromises. New graces and new surrenders of previously cherished ways. I pray we don’t need arbitration.

But God has reminded me of something. Our struggles are never too small to bring to him. To shelter as needed beneath his wings. Our problems are never too petty to plead for patience, courage and strength to manage them wisely. Never too local to bring them together to our omnipresent God and know that he will guide us through.

But, oh dear. I just may need an eagle all my own to remind me.

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