Stephanie Rische

Stubbing My Toe on Grace

The Everlasting Arms April 17, 2012

Filed under: Deuteronomy — Stephanie Rische @ 8:01 am
Tags: ,

Early in our relationship, my now-husband and I bonded over a common enemy: the red-winged blackbird. (Clearly, we were meant to be.)

We were walking and chatting together on the bike path when we discovered that in recent months both of us had been dive-bombed by said birds (without any provocation our part, I might add). Daniel had been riding his bicycle and I was out for a jog, and apparently both of us got a little too close to Mama Blackbird’s nest. That’s when militant squawking ensued and there was some talon-to-head contact.

Daniel handled things with his trademark unflappable calm, proceeding to simply ride faster and outpace the bird. I wish I could say the same for myself, but all the rush-hour commuters who witnessed my full-body flailing at the corner of Route 25 might tell you otherwise.

Perhaps my bad experience with birds has tainted my view, but I have to admit I was a little surprised to find God compared to a bird several times in the book of Deuteronomy. God as a lion? No problem. A lamb? I can work with that. But a bird?

In Deuteronomy 32:11 we see God described as carrying us on his wings:


Like an eagle that rouses her chicks
and hovers over her young,
so he spread his wings to take them up
and carried them safely on his pinions.

The next chapter paints a similar image of God soaring across the skies as we fly tandem with him. All the while he’s driving out the enemy that’s out to get us:

There is no one like the God of Israel.
He rides across the heavens to help you,
across the skies in majestic splendor.
The eternal God is your refuge,
and his everlasting arms are under you.
He drives out the enemy before you;
he cries out, “Destroy them!”
—Deuteronomy 33:26-27


And suddenly I see the red-winged blackbird scenario from another angle. What if, instead of the one being dive-bombed, I were one of the babies in the nest?

I have to admit that, personal biases aside, birds must be some of the most graceful animals—soaring, as they do, almost effortlessly through the sky. But when their little ones are in danger, watch out, because nothing is going to get in their way.

Gratefully our God has both these sides to his own character. He rides across the heavens in majestic splendor, but at the same time, when his children are in trouble, he doesn’t hesitate to drive out the enemy before them.

Every time I see a bird soaring through the sky, may it remind me of those everlasting arms that are under me. Those arms that are both graceful and protective.

But in the meantime, I’m not taking any chances: you’ll find me on a different jogging trail from now on.

I’ve taken the challenge of reading the Bible chronologically this year and tracing the thread of grace through it. These musings are prompted by my reading. I’d love to have you join me: One Year Bible reading plan.


5 Responses to “The Everlasting Arms”

  1. Marty Feldhake Says:

    Great post and encouragement from scripture. I actually had one land on my head while trout fishing one time…I flailed as well…Enjoyed some time with Ted, Meghan and your folks last weekend!

  2. maggierowe Says:

    Stephanie, I love how you wove together a negative experience from the natural world into a positive reminder of God’s watchcare over us. I forwarded your post to a widow from our former church on Cape Cod. She is an avid birdwatcher, and these images of God carrying us on his wings will resonate with her in the loss of her beloved husband.

  3. alice Teisan Says:

    I got to read 2 posts on one day. I missed this one when it went out due to mixed up priorities I’m sure.

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