Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Breathe On Me Breath Of God"1 (Lyrics)
Psalm 84:3 – Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young — a place near Your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. (NIV)
A few weeks ago, I discovered a robin's nest which had three blue eggs in it. The nest was located in a tree right in front of my living room window. Not long after I spotted the eggs, there was a baby bird inside; after that, two more hatched. I couldn't have asked for a better view. I watched as the babies opened wide their beaks, each waiting a turn for its mother to feed them. This was one of the most adorable sights I have ever seen. I became fascinated with these amazing creatures and looked forward to watching them learn how to fly. I read that it takes up to two weeks before baby robins can leave the nest, so I figured that that would give me some time to enjoy them for awhile, before the big event. However, two days later, mother robin and her babies were gone. Not only was this experience a big disappointment, but it was quite a mystery; there were no signs of foul play, and the little nest appeared undisturbed from predators.
Since the nestlings were not ready to fly, I would like to believe that the mother moved her babies to a different location. Maybe she saw my cats at the window and felt threatened. Unfortunately, this may not be a likely scenario, according to some information that I learned on the Internet. Moreover, I found that the rate of success for open cup nesting songbirds is very low. Sadly, the eggs or the babies easily fall prey to a variety of creatures, including raccoons, squirrels, crows, ravens, etc. Predators get their cue from the scent, sound, and increased activities going on around the nest.
Nonetheless, I gained a blessing from this experience. I now have a better appreciation for wild birds and their wonderful role in God's creation; consequently, I am interested in new ways of attracting them to my yard. But first, my natural response was to turn to Scripture. The psalmist must have felt the same way as he observed a sparrow's home and a swallow's nest, near the altar of God.
The sad loss of the nestlings reminded me that the world is a dangerous place. Bad things happen, and believers are not exempt from sorrow and affliction. Still, I am encouraged by the beautiful imagery in today's Scripture. Imagine those birds building their homes in and around the temple courts — what a lovely picture to contemplate! How does it speak to you?
I am confident that if we build our lives in and around God's presence, we will find a safe place — one that is eternally secure in His love and protection, a place of peace that surpasses all understanding, a place where there is rest for the restless, close to the heart of God.
Prayer: "How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." (Psalm 84:1,2b NIV) Like the birds of the air which demonstrate Your wisdom and glory, enable us also to build our lives as close to You as possible, where we can have a place that is safe and secure in Your holy presence. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.