You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself (Exodus 19:4). As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, so the Lord alone led him, And there was no foreign god with him (Deut 32:11-12). An eagle must lead his young to maturity or they will die. The baby eaglet is helpless at birth and must be fed and cared for by its mother. High in a nest on the crag of a mountain cliff, the baby eagle is protected from anything that would bring harm. The mother had lined the nest with her soft feathers prior to the eaglet’s birth, and the first part of the eaglet’s life is filled with comfort as mother brings it daily food. But the baby eagle will soon become so large that the mother cannot carry it enough food, and the nest will become too small to support its weight. If the eaglet’s wings are not strengthened, it will one day die of starvation. So one day the mother eaglet comes to the nest after a time of hunting for food, and to the eaglet’s surprise, begins to tear the down feathers from the bottom of the nest, leaving sharp thorns and twigs exposed. Chaffed from the thorns, the baby eaglet jumps to the side of the nest, and to its shock, the mother hits it with her beak and pushes it off of the nest. It plunges toward the ground below to what looks like a certain death. But just before it hits the ground, the mother swoops down and catches the eaglet on her back and flies safely to the nest, only to repeat this process over and over. What the baby thinks is harshness is really the mother loving her child enough to train it to fly. Without the seeming harshness, the dependant eaglet would one day die of starvation. The Father in a similar way deals with us as children of God. As we mature, the challenges of life come to us. Sometimes His Spirit leads us down a path filled with uncomfortable things that force us to exercise our faith, and to believe in what we cannot see. His gentle firm hand is leading us to walk by faith so that we are not choked by circumstances in our future. He teaches us to navigate life by faith. In doing so, in His wisdom, He allows the difficult to come our way. Don’t forget that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. The Spirit of God actually led Jesus into a hard place. He may lead you there too. Without the hard places of life, you’ll not develop spiritual muscles that will lift you above life’s circumstances. I’m not talking here about God putting sickness or disease on us, or causing hurtful things like accidents or tragedy. I’m referring to God purposely leading you into a place that demands faith! Some of the greatest growth places in my life have also been the hardest. God was kicking me out of the nest. He wanted me to develop my character and my faith. When your way seems challenging, remember the little eaglet. The Father wants you to stretch your faith wings and learn to live by faith! Don’t despise the hard place. Allow it to help you grow!