When my own children relayed this story to me and I began to study what the Bible has to say about wings and feathers. I can see two clear concepts. The first is based on Isaiah 40:30-31. It deals with mounting up on Eagles wings.
“He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak. Even youth grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will walk and now grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” This is a picture of God’s wings being strong. He is a support that helps us to soar towards his plan and purpose for our lives.
The second is the idea that we are covered with his feathers as in Psalms 91:4. “He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” His wings are a place of protection. To be beneath his wings is to rest and to know you are safe. He says he longs to take us under his wings as a hen gathers her chicks in Luke 13:34. Not one sparrow falls to the ground without his knowledge. He is the protector.
Both of these visual pictures show us God’s faithfulness. He will allow us, even guide us to fly…to be over the circumstances in life, not under them. He gives us a God’s eye view so that we can see what is ahead, just as an Eagle surveys the land. The wind of his Spirit keeps us aloft, moving towards his vision for our lives. This powerful image inspires us to “fly with him.”
The image of his wings of protection, create a similar picture of his faithfulness. Not only is he faithful to inspire us towards his vision, he also is faithful in his protection of us as we move towards it. A hen tucks her little ones under her wing in a storm. She, herself, takes the punishment of the weather in order to create a warm and safe place for them. This is a picture of the self-sacrifice of Jesus. He takes us under his wing. He covers us with his feathers. He does not expose us to the storm around us; he surrounds us with his love and care…even his sacrifice so we can be safe.
The faithfulness of God to give those on the mission trip vision for the people of Brazil was evident as was his faithfulness to protect them. The night of the church dedication there were words in Portuguese on the back wall of the church. The kids asked what they said. The answer was God is Faithful. Amazing. The painter of the words had no idea that God had been speaking to the students about his faithfulness…but the giver of words did. No one could have set that up as perfectly as God. The feathers have created a picture worth a thousand words. There will not be a feather seen by these young people that will not remind them of God’s faithfulness. All of this from a small little feather? You bet. God delights in showing himself through small meaningful things. He confirms his word so that we can see it all around us. Under his wings we find refuge.