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“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but 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.” (Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV)
The Tasmanian Wedge-Tailed Eagle is an endangered species endemic to Tasmania with less than 440 adults in the wild. However, despite its endangered status I am often blessed to see them soaring above our home. In fact, whenever I go out for a bushwalk in the mountains, even around Hobart, I almost always see Tasmanian wedge tailed eagles soaring in the skies. They always remind me that I was created to soar in the presence of God. Whenever I am feeling too focused on earthly matters, seeing a wedge tailed eagle instantly reminds me what life is all about: to soar in worship and to abide in the presence of God.
“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD. They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness. For you are their glory and strength…” (Psalm 89:15-17 NIV)
It is a joy to live in the presence of God, but on one spring day I was feeling a bit weary, disgruntled and dragged down by weeks of busyness, so I did what I normally do when feeling that way: I went out for a bushwalk to spend time with the Lord.
I went out to Mt Field National Park intending to do an alpine walk, but the gale force winds and snow forced me to walk the lower tarns instead. The weather matched my mood because it rained A-L-L day long. So I slogged through the slush, rain and mud for a couple of hours, praying the whole way. Even though I had gone out to spend time with the Lord, I had thrown my camera in my backpack just in case.
Towards the end of my several hour walk I finally got the spiritual breakthrough I had been seeking in prayer (and so badly needed). (Thanks and praise be to God!!!) My spirit and countenance were drastically uplifted, and I broke forth in heartfelt praise. The rain clouds also lifted and revealed the beautiful Rodway Range blanketed in snow. As I drove away I decided to try to get one good photo for the day.
As I was setting up this shot and gazing through my viewfinder I heard a currawong (kind of like a Tasmanian crow) squawking like crazy literally right behind me. I ignored him for a little while, but when he kept getting closer and closer I turned around to see what he was squawking about….and I was astounded!
There, just a few metres away from me, soaring at the height of my hip was an immature Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle!!!
And for once I actually had a camera in my hand!!! (Never mind that it was still attached to the tripod and that it was an ultra-wide angle instead of a telephoto lens, which happened to be in all the wrong settings for shooting wildlife, including the timer mode–but nevertheless, I had a camera!!)
The eagle flew so close to me I nearly could have reached out my hand and touched him (or her). I paused to take in the magnificent experience, but as he gradually flew away I started to shoot several photos. Wow! This amazing encounter even further brightened what had begun as a very hard day. Thank you, God, for this wonderful and very rare blessing!
This experience reminded me very much of another close encounter I had with an immature wedge-tailed eagle at Mt. Field the previous year. (See “Snowy Florentine Peak, Mt. Field National Park, Tasmania, Australia” (Tasmanian Wilderness Landscape Photography Series) to read about it).
As I sat down to write this I began to realise it was nearly a real life carbon copy of a dream the Lord had given me about finding refreshment in him during times of weariness. I did a painting about it long ago. Here is the link: “On Eagles’ Wings” (Isaiah 40:31)” (Believers’ Road Series).