Flight of Ravens
by Bruce W. Durbin
Eagles. Eagles are one of the largest and most powerful birds in the world. Have you ever had the opportunity to watch an eagle in flight? It is spectacular. An eagle, with a wing-span often exceeding six feet, will soar toward heaven, then execute a daring dive downwards. The eagle will recover from its dive and begin to float effortlessly floating on the wind. They are indeed the masters of the sky. Unless observed in a zoo, eagles are rarely seen in the vicinity of man.
Ravens. Ravens are large black birds that often travel in the company of other ravens. When you observe a raven, you will usually notice that they do not spend a significant amount of time soaring on the wind currents; ravens tend to flap their wings to hop from one place on the ground to another. Perhaps, the most notable characteristic of ravens is their cawing; a loud "throaty" caw. Ravens can be observed in the wilderness, as well as in the yards of people.
Eagles and ravens. If you were to ask a child which they would rather be, an eagle or a raven, then their answer would most certainly be an "eagle", primarily because the eagle is big and is the master of the sky.
What makes a raven special? When a prophet of God (Ezekiel) was in need of food, God sent ravens to feed him, as 1 Kings 17:4-6 details:
"And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. So he went and did according unto the word of the Lord: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook."
Why didn't God send a single eagle, the master of the sky, to feed His prophet? It would have been more spectacular to have an eagle, riding the wind currents, to drop from the sky, with a calf in its talons. While the ravens were required to make multiple trips, a single eagle could have made a single trip.
Any one who has witnessed a flock of ravens in action will know that there is a certain degree of disorganization in their behavior. Possessing this lack of organizational skills, it is possible that when the ravens arrived with the bread for God's prophet, that the bread was dropped in multiple places, forcing the prophet to gather up the bread. How easy it would have been for God to send an eagle, with the eagle dropping a calf at the feet of the prophet.
When we pray for deliverance from trials, we often expect salvation to be dropped at our feet and we expect the salvation to be delivered by a symbol of superiority (an eagle), not by underlings (ravens). We also expect for our salvation from trials to occur in a single swoop (as from the wings of an eagle), rather than having to pick up the pieces (as left by the ravens).
Be assured that God hears your prayers. As Luke 12:24 encourages:
"Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have
storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?"
Who seeks the lost? Revelation 3:20 states:
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him."
In "The Raven", Edgar Allen Poe described the appearance of a raven and a subsequent conversation with the raven (originally published in 1845). In part, Poe wrote:
"Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore-- While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. "'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door--Only this, and nothing more."
"Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
"But the Raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only that one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour."
Often, when God seeks the lost, He sends not the stately eagle, but rather the lowly raven. Ravens may appear as the stranger that opens the door for you. Ravens may appear as the person delivering a pizza. Ravens may appear as the driver who lets you maneuver your car into traffic. As in the case of Poe's raven, sometimes, the ravens that come to us, only come once. Likewise, when God prompts us to witness to someone, it may only be once.
The flight of ravens is empowered with the love of God for His children.
Bruce W. Durbin is a freelance writer, whose articles have featured on many Christian online publications. He is also the author of Almost Heaven (Dec. 2001) and Almost Hell (July 2002) (www.iuniverse.com and www.barnesandnoble.com).