When I first started this blog, it was in part because I was negotiating with my longing to be surrounded by nature and being bound to a city life, at times against my natural desires. It is a longing with which I still sometimes wrestle. I chose to be here in this ugly concrete jungle with my family because I live for the priorities of Gods Kingdom not my own. Those priorities mean living where we have found life-giving community that we regularly give back to; those priorities mean God continuing to open doors to serve Him here in this church community; those priorities mean this is for now, where God sees is best for our family, our spiritual growth, and our serving to grow His kingdom. “Seek first His kingdom,” He says. So we do. But that doesn’t mean my heart doesn’t long for my Sabbath resting place in the countryside.
However, for as long as I have been here, I continue to be amazed at how He gently reminds me that He knows my longings.
Today that was through a little baby bird.
I was sitting outside with my breakfast soaking up the cool of the morning before the summer heat baked our city, and I noticed a mocking bird swoop down to the grass with a bug in its mouth.
That’s odd, I thought.
I kept watching.
After a few moments, I noticed a tiny feathery head and beak pointing up to the sky, with two black beady eyes blinking in the hot sun. A baby bird, stranded on the ground.
I got up to take a closer look. Yes, it’s still alive, I observed as it’s tiny eyes blinked up again at me.
I immediately jetted inside to get my girls. One of its parents squawked a warning from on the roof of our apartment as I walked by.
The girls were in awe. We watched the bird from a distance for a while. It hardly moved, it’s little head still raised upward.
Eventually, at my bidding, our neighbor came out, glove fisted, to rescue the bird and place it back in the safe shade of the tree, in hopes that at least there, mostly hidden from sight, it would reconnect with its parents and stay cool enough to survive.
As I reflect on this little incident, small and insignificant as it may be in the grand scheme of things, I realize the fragility of life. That baby bird is still sitting in the tree even as I write, it’s beak and head pointed upward, waiting patiently for its parent to come care for its needs. It’s almost as if it’s head is permanently fixed upward, as it waits.
Oh that my own heart would be postured in such a way of dependence on God: trusting; waiting; expecting the help I so desperately need.
That bird is not afraid, even as it finds itself outside of the safety of its nest, and stranded in an unexpected situation of danger. It just rests in the knowledge of its vulnerability and the reliability of its parents to provide for it.
For me, I am humbled by the realization that my lack of dependence on God stems not from His unreliability but from my pride which lies about my vulnerability. If only I could see myself the way the baby bird does: helpless in the best of ways and ultimately dependent upon my Father for all my needs.
And this is why I am grateful for these moments of nature. They are simple illustrations to me of my relationship with God, and point me ever upwards to His loving care for me.
Every time God allows a little nature to breakthrough into our city-clogged day, I am humbled with gratitude by these little tastes of “home”, because it tells me He cares about me, and my heart’s longings matter to Him. It tells me He hasn’t forgotten me. And that reminds me that some day, my Sabbath place of rest will come in full abundance and never be taken from me again.
So in the meantime, I enjoy my tastes of Eden – not the Eden in the past but the better Eden yet to come.