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The Eagle: a Metaphor for Spiritual Growth

Amanda's greatest passion is encouraging people as they walk the path to inner healing and self-awareness.


The young eaglet was desperately wounded when the gentle hands of the master lifted her up and brought her to safety. His loving hands provided her nourishment and his watchful eye kept her from harm. He was patient, waiting for her wounds to heal and her feathers to grow. The eaglet gained strength. As she grew the master began to teach her to find her own food and eventually, he taught her how to fly. How she enjoyed those outings with her master. She would beat her wings and lift off his gloved hand into the air. The tether around her ankle kept her from entering the dangers of the wild before she had been properly prepared.

In time, the glorious freedom she felt when taking to the air brought on an instinct to reach higher places, to be free. The master saw that the instinct to be what she was created to be was beginning to drive the young bird and he was pleased. But her time had not yet come. The master would not cut the tether until he was absolutely certain that the bird would be able to survive on her own. He had tenderly cared for the youngster and her salvation was very important to him. But the poor bird could not understand this. She began to feel that the master did not fully understand her desire to soar. She beat her wings more frantically and pulled ever harder on the tether, falling back exhausted into his hands. She perched on his fingers and chewed violently at the restrictive tie. Her desire to be set free grew and grew.


Finally, the time came for the beautiful eagle to be released. In a bittersweet moment, the loving master cut the tether from around her ankle. The grown eagle looked at him with question and surprise. She longed to be free, but had no idea what she would face in the wild. It took little encouragement from the master for the eagle to spread her wings and take to the air. She soared higher than she had ever been in a beautiful display of skill and spirit. The master looked on with pride as his little eaglet set out to fulfill her destiny.


Like this eaglet, we are born with a destiny, but while still very young, before we even know how to fly, we are wounded. Sometimes those wounds come from our closest friends and family members. Sometimes they come as a result of the harsh realities of life. But all of us are wounded in some way.

In our despair, God lifts us up and carries us in his gentle hands. He watches over us, sustains and nourishes us and teaches us the way of salvation. It is exciting when we catch a whiff of the instinct to become all that we were created to be. It calls to us on the wind and whispers to us from afar. Our spirits are stirred and our hearts yearn to soar high above our circumstances and live like a bird on the wind. We feel lighter as his spirit fills us and upholds us.

We strive against the tether that binds us to this world: our material possessions, our responsibilities, our families... even our bodies that seem not to cooperate with the longings of our hearts. We question God and struggle against his plans. Eventually, the time comes for us to be released. God knows we are ready and that our salvation is sure. He removes all of our hindrances and we soar ever higher. Our spirits take over and we instinctively move to fulfill our destiny.

But unlike the story above, we never actually leave our master. He is the very air that fills our nostrils and lifts our wings. It might be said that Jesus is the master with the tether, working for our salvation; that the Holy Spirit is the voice calling to us on the wind; and that God is the medium that sustains our lives and through which we travel to reach our eternal destiny.


(I wrote this back in 2010.)

© 2019 Amanda Buck

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