It used to be that Amazing Grace was the “go to” hymn for funerals. The strains of the music started and that was the cue for tears to start. That distinction now belongs to the hymn, On Eagle’s Wings. It seems I hear it at every Memorial Service or funeral I attend. Based on Psalm 91, the song speaks of God carrying his servant on eagle’s wings. Implied is that our loved one is being carried up into heaven, however, this is a psalm for the living, not the dead!
Psalm 91 is a hymn of trust in God under all circumstances, pestilence, war, night terrors. “You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand; but it will not come near you.” (5-7)
The message is that those who dwell in the Lord, who cling to God, will be safe from all harm. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.’” (1-2) “Because you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your habitation, no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.” (10) “Because he cleaves to me in love, I will deliver him, I will protect him, because he knows my name.” (14)
Not only that, all you have to do is look and you will see the wicked getting their just deserts, “You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.” (8) His angels will carry you and keep you safe. “For he will give his angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” (11-12)
This all sounds great, but anyone who has lived any length of time, anyone familiar with the Gospels, knows that faith doesn’t mean we will be saved from all human ills. God didn’t even save his own son, so why us? Evil often prospers in our lifetime and we don’t always see evil doers get their just rewards.
We have to hang on tight to those eagle’s wings, lest we fall off!
The Christian life isn’t free of all problems. Christians experience all the same problems that non-believers experience. We experience cancer and other life threatening illness; we are killed in wars, in car accidents; we experience business failures. What makes us different is that we have a source of strength to help us through these difficult times.
God many not carry us away on eagle’s wings to escape our problems, but God does carry us through the hard times. We need to place our trust in God, clinging to God with our whole heart, mind and soul, until the time that we see God face to face.
Have there been times in your life when God has carried you through? I would love to hear from you.