Wildlife photographer Kevin Ebi captured a series of photographs depicting an epic struggle between a bald eagle and a young red fox over a rabbit they both wanted for themselves. The eagle, obviously far more powerful, was determined to have the rabbit. But the fox would not give up. Ultimately, though, it had to; it let go and dropped about 20 feet to the ground below, emerging unharmed.
Imagine for a moment that you are the rabbit. God is the eagle. Satan is the fox. And don’t push the metaphor too far; God isn’t going to eat you for dinner, for instance. Just go with it.
God is determined to lift you up to the highest heights imaginable. “Wings like eagles” is even used to describe our exaltation in Isaiah 40:31. The devil is “foxy,” though. Like Herod of old, the “fox” who opposed Jesus and executed His cousin John (Luke 13:31-32), the devil himself likes to sink his teeth into us — and once he does, he won’t let go. We might like to think that once God has chosen us for His own, the devil would leave us alone. Instead, it seems he only redoubles his efforts to keep us grounded in his domain. But “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). God will exalt His people (James 4:10) — and there is nothing anyone or anything, including Satan himself, can do about it (Romans 8:38-39).
But that doesn’t make the moment any less difficult for the rabbit while the war rages. He is caught in a terrible tug-of-war between spiritual forces, and he is going to suffer greatly no matter what the eventual outcome. We have to have enough faith in God’s plan to endure short-term hardship. We must remain confident that we will eventually “overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:32).
Imagine, though, that the rabbit blamed the eagle for not dealing with the fox in a timely fashion. Imagine the eagle as the problem rather than the solution. We would be far more inclined to submit to God’s plan if it arrived complete and on schedule. But that’s not how this war typically works. Can it get to the point where we would rather God lose His grip entirely on us, letting us plummet to whatever fate might lie in store for us on the earth beneath? We would like to think we have more faith, and more common sense, than that. But sometimes our circumstances cause us to not think quite as straight as we might.
Stay the course. Accept God’s exaltation. You will pay a price, surely. But it’s worth it.