The Discipline of Disturbance
Almost every evening for the last week you could find me nestled into the folds of our family room couch. I had a diet coke in one hand, some chips near the other hand and the clicker handy for volume control. Yep, like everyone else I know I have been glued to the Olympic coverage. And heaven help the person who had the audacity to disturb me!
Truth is, none of us like to be disturbed. For many of us the main goal in life is to “get by,” endure as few waves as is possible, avoid the pot holes of living and skate through to the finish with no skinned knees (or worse). We absolutely do not want our worlds rocked (even a little bit).
But in Oswald Sander’s book entitled “Enjoying Intimacy with God,” he writes a section he calls the “discipline of disturbance”. Sander’s contention is that we all love to settle down in familiar ruts and soak in the pleasures of life. We want great homes, good jobs, healthy children, and lots of recreation. The problem is that sometimes all those comforts can tend to make heaven less attractive. We may tend to long less for the next life because we are so entrenched in this life. All the “good stuff” can become foes of our faith.
And so he speaks of the “discipline of disturbance.” He gives the illustration of the eagle. Like the eagles I saw in Alaska a few years ago, they all tend to build their nests way up high. The parents gather small sticks, then twigs, then pieces of fur or feathers until the nest is soft with lining. Once the eaglets are hatched, the “mom and dad” make sure that their every need is met. Meals are delivered right on time.
But on a day prescribed by the creator, the mother eagle appears to go bananas and starts tearing away at the lining of the nest. Soon the eaglets become so uncomfortable with the stripped home that they climb out on the edge of the limb – trembling with fear. Mom will slide up alongside and gently give them a push. Down they go, tumbling through space. And just in time, the mother eagle swoops down, catches the eaglet on her wings and returns the eaglet to the nest.
This seemingly “cruel” act of parenting is actually a “discipline of disturbance.” Eagles know the nature of their off spring and know they need a “nudge” to keep them growing and developing.
Our heavenly Father knows we need nudges too; otherwise we would just continue to seek ease and comfort. So He challenges us with difficulty situations and behind the scenes He prepares the “safety net.” So, don’t be surprised if you get a nudge this week! “Like an eagle that stirs up its nest – that hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them. He carried them on His pinions. The Lord alone guided him.” (Deut. 32-11-12)
Warmest regards in Christ,
Sherry L. Worel
Stoneybrooke Christian Schools