Well actually, it wasn't eagle wings, but it was the wings of a Cessna.
Guess we'll start about 17 years ago. This story is about Young Man. I hope to tell Senior Son's story in another post...
From an early age my boys were very different. One wanted to be in the dirt, under bushes, and up in trees, picking up every six legged creature he could find. And, to my "joy" he brought these in to share with me. Wasn't he a thoughtful boy? The other boy was a bit quieter, at times. As a baby he liked to bite noses, giggle, and eat. A Lot!
By the ripe old age of two he had made two determinations in life. You see, unlike his brother he was not interested in the bugs. He liked to watch planes fly. For big brother we would go to the state park and study every little creature we could find. We had all sorts of things to study. But, for little brother we would drive to our small local airport and watch the planes take off.
First things first. At the age of 2 we took little brother to a "Meet the Instruments" gathering at our library. One kind gentleman offered Young Man a chance to touch, hold and "play" the violin. That was all it took. He told us he wanted to play the violin. He was consistent and never gave up. By the age of 5 he was playing. And, in one of those purely "God things" it turned out that the man who introduced him to the violin became a family friend, church elder and a boss to both my sons. Isn't God amazing?
A while later... it might have been within a few months or even a year, while we were sitting watching the planes take off (and big brother was finding out what bugs live on an airport parking lot) Young Man declared he would fly a plane some day.
Now, I'm not sure how many of you would take these thoughts seriously, but we paid attention. From the age of 7 Young Man studied planes, engines, weaponry and the air force. He "knew" he was going to be an air force pilot. Alas, he learned that his eyes would not allow this and he was left in a quandary as to what to do. Now mind you, he was, at this point, merely 11 years old and in the 6th grade.
His dad and I, on the other hand, "knew" that he was called elsewhere. You see we had chosen his name with a feeling (or a certainty perhaps) that he would be called to the mission field. We chose his name for one who "came along side" of the one who spoke for God. And, when Young Man was determined to fly I had a strong feeling he'd end up as a missionary aviator. He, however, had no clue as yet. His teacher came to me one day and asked, "Do you know he's called to be a missionary?" To which I replied, "Yes." Then he asked, "Does he know?" "Not yet." A few weeks later another worker at his school came up and asked the same questions. We simply waited. One night Young Man came and asked what we thought about him serving as a missionary aviator... well, we sort of "knew" all along that God would call him. It was amazing to see the Lord's hand at work.
Time passed, Young Man finished his one year in an actual school setting and we continued homeschooling. We tried to gear his education to what he would need in his "chosen" field. During this time "At the End of the Spear" came out in both movie and book form. I thought this would be a good measure for Young Man to see what he might be called to do. First we watched "Through Gates of Splendor"... the documentary of the young men called to serve and who ended up being martyred for their faith. Later two of the wives returned and eventually God used this to bring these people to a saving faith. As I sat with my son and watched the movie and realized what God might expect, I began to shake and cry. However, Young Man looked at me and said, "Well, that made my mind up. " I figured he might have changed his mind. After all, who wants to die at the end of a spear? But, he informed me that he knew that was what God was calling him to do.
This past year was his first year in college. His program is Missions Aviation. He will graduate, Lord willing, with a pilot's license, the ability to do mechanical work on the planes he flies, an idea of how to serve as a missionary, hours of class work, mission trips, and now flight. You see, Young Man took his first solo flight. The dream he had 17 years ago came true on Monday. On runway 13O he took off in a Cessna and for one hour lived the dream of a young boy. In just 10 days he will be leaving for Africa where he will serve in his first overseas mission trip to the people of Lesotho, with MAF pilots, and 3 other students from his university.
Never underestimate the Lord. Some he calls early, some he calls late, but he has a destination and call for each of us, believers or not. I pray that you come to know the Lord of the universe as your own Father, that you may call upon the name of His son as your savior, and that He will give you a calling and purpose which will glorify Him forever.