I have been reading the "Thin Within" book by Judy Halliday and just had to share this great story she shared on day 10.
One day a naturalist was passing a farm. He glanced over at the chicken yard and noticed among the chickens pecking away at the corn one of the most beautiful eagles he had ever seen. He said to the farmer, "What in the world is that eagle doing in the chicken pen?" The farmer drawled, "Well, I really don't know, but he seems to think he's a chicken. He's been there for a long time and he won't leave. I've tried to scare him away, but he won't go."
The naturalist smiled and said, "I'll make him leave." So he went into the pen and lifted up the eagle. The eagle was indeed a magnificent bird. He flexed his huge wings, and the naturalist could see some of his latent power.
The naturalist said to the eagle, "Stretch forth your wings and fly, You're not a chicken; you're the king of all birds. You can soar over the entire country. Don't be satisfied with this chicken coop." But the eagle plopped down from his arm and went right on pecking for corn just like all the chickens. For days the naturalist kept coming back and putting the eagle on his glove. Still the eagle wouldn't budge.
Finally, exasperated, the naturalist went back to the farmer. "What in the world can I do? That eagle won't budge. He believes he's a chicken." Well, the farmer drawled, "If I were you and I had the time, I'd teach him to fly."
The naturalist stared at the farmer for a moment or two. "You know, that's a good idea." So the naturalist put the eagle in a cage and drove his truck to the base of a nearby mountain. He strapped the cage to his back and began to climb the mountain. He set the cage down on a cliff and opened it, but still the eagle wouldn't budge. He just peered out, blinked, and gazed down at the chickens, far below. The naturalist carefully took the eagle out of the cage and put him on a rock. The eagle looked up at the sky and again his beautiful wings gleamed in the sunlight as they stretched out just a little. For the first time, it seemed that the eagle actually felt different. When he glanced down at the chickens his wings trembled.
The naturalist knew that although the eagle really wanted to fly, he was afraid. So the man reached out and very gently pushed the eagle. It wouldn't budge. He tried again, but still the eagle wouldn't move. Finally, the naturalist sat down, utterly exasperated. He looked at the eagle and at the sky and at the chickens far below. "How can I teach him to fly?" he wondered. Then he happened to glance further up, at the mountaintop, and he knew the answer.
He put the eagle back into the cage and climbed to the very top of the mountain where other eagles roosted. They built their nest, mated, raised their offspring, and soared magnificently. The eagle saw all of this and as soon as the naturalist took him out of the cage, he stretched his gorgeous wings and eagerly lifted himself off the rock. At first he dropped, but then he suddenly found, like the other eagles, that he could fly effortlessly.
The eagle never returned to the chicken yard. He had finally discovered who he was--an eagle. And he loved it.
Original story by Jerry Frankhauser.
"But those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31