We went to see the third Hobbit movie the other night. What a marathon! About two hours into a movie that lasts just shy of two and half hours, I whispered to my husband, "I'm exhausted!" Without really needing to give a spoiler alert, possibly two hours of the movie is devoted to battle scenes. Toward the end of course (and this is a spoiler alert if you couldn't see it coming), just when you think all is sure to be lost and the few that are left have no more energy, the eagles swoop in and save what is left of the day, completely routing the enemy.
Something about this movie struck a chord with me, mainly because I have felt like I am in an ongoing battle on a number of fronts for most of the past year. I have been feeling exceptionally tired. At times I have wondered whether I can continue and sometimes I have wondered what I am even fighting for - does it even make a difference or is the outcome already decided? At the end of the movie, I found myself almost tearfully whispering, "God, send Your eagles, it is time for Your eagles. I need your eagles."
As I reflected on this over the next few days two things came to mind. The first was the words, "The battle belongs to the Lord". This well known verse comes from 1 Samuel 17:47, where David is proclaiming his victory against Goliath before it had happened. Although the context probably suggests this means the victory belongs to God, the perception I saw was that although I may have a role to play in the battle, it is not my battle; it is His. I don't have to take responsibility for the outcome.
The second part of my reflection was regarding how I can find rest and restoration in the midst of my battle-weary state. What does rest look like when you can't afford to let your guard down for a minute?
I realised that the place of rest is in worship. Our battle song is one of worship of our great God. This reminds me of some of the Old Testament stories, where the people sang as they went to physical battle. As we worship, our eyes turn to God, and we see things from His perspective, particularly who God is and what He is about. This brings us hope and refreshing.
My end point on this reflection was the realisation that we actually have an opportunity to be the eagles. As I thought of verses about eagles in the Bible, I was immediately reminded of the promise from Isaiah 40:31
"they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint."
It is not something that comes automatically, though. We cannot rouse this strength by our own acts or abilities. It comes from waiting on the Lord. Not just stopping, but waiting in expectation and hope that He will show up and show us the way forward. And I think we must wait as long as it takes, as opposed to getting impatient and going on in our own strength and ways.
Personally, I think I probably need to practice that sort of waiting bit a little more.