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Free to SoarHe gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless. Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those that trust in the Lord will renew strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:29-31

The American flag, Bald Eagle, fireworks, baseball, hot dogs, The Statue of Liberty and white picket fences saturate our ideas of American culture and freedom.

Earlier this month, our nation celebrated her 239th  birthday. The next day, I turned 50. Milestones cause us to reflect upon our lives. More than half of my life has passed by, and I still find myself wondering where my path will lead. Will I have the energy and resolve to carry on?

A legend about the eagles’ rebirth states around the age of 40, their feathers become so heavy and burdensome, they actually impede their flight. Their talons and beak also age, making it hard for them to clutch their prey. Survival becomes increasingly difficult unless they make a deliberate choice: renewal or death.

This painful renewal process takes patience. The eagle flies to an isolated mountain, and slams his aging, bent beak against the rock so he can pull it out. He waits for a new beak to grow. Then he takes his new beak and pulls out his long, stiff talons, and waits for new ones to appear. With his strength renewed, he plucks out his thick, cumbersome feathers and waits some more, until new feathers emerge.

With his youth now restored, this magnificent creature is able to soar to new heights for another 30 years. I love this picture. It reminds me of God’s process of renewal and encourages me as I wade through muddy water that weighs me down.

Recently, I’ve struggled with seeing others as a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). When facing a challenging situation, I’ve been too quick to judge people based upon my past experiences with them. When unhealthy thoughts based on lies enter my head, I must choose to renew my mind by seeking God’s voice through daily, quiet meditation of His word.

Through the renewal process, I’m finding supernatural strength. I depend less on doing things in my own effort and more on God. 50 is but a number and my days are numbered by Almighty God not by man or circumstance.

Sarah laughed when she heard God say she would bear a child in her ripe-old age. But Abraham believed God, and as promised, a nation was born through Isaac. Like Abraham, I believe God. Though, I’m 15 years from retirement, I progressively walk out my calling: one day at a time.

There is some truth to the myth of the eagles’ rebirth. Physical, emotional, mental or spiritual renewal can lengthen our earthly lives. Gradually, God reveals Himself to us as we wait on and yield to Him. He continually renews our mind and heart, allowing us to soar into new levels of freedom (Rom. 12:2).

Take a moment to reflect on your life. Where do you need renewal today? What thoughts seem to plague you or steal your joy? What is God revealing to you about Himself today?