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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Counting Sparrows

After the recent hurricane, Gustave, my husband and I attempted to drive through town to our home to check out any damage. (We stayed with my parents during the storm.) We weren't prepared for much of what we saw. Hurricane force winds can do unbelievable damage. Every street and yard was littered with trees and sheets of metal roofing that came from who knows where. Huge oak trees were laying on their sides as if a giant child had simply pushed them over. Power lines were mangled and hanging in every direction.

A short while later, back at Mom's house, I was taking photos of the area when I discovered this bird's nest.

Before that day, I had not noticed it. It had probably been hidden by a few more leaves before the storm. It was unbelievable to me that it was still intact after enduring 90 mph winds the previous day. And . . . it wasn't even in a tree! The nest had been built in a single grape vine that was clinging to a small arbor. I walked around it, looking at it from every angle, trying to figure out how in the world the nest had managed to stay in one piece and remain in its very fragile environment.

Earlier, during our drive, I saw once-massive pine trees laying in splinters and huge oaks resting on crashed roof tops and one street after the other, blocked by fallen power lines with trees on top of them. And yet, here was this bird's nest ~ untouched ~ in a tiny grape vine. In the midst of my amazement, while gawking at the nest and trying to discover its secret, I suddenly noticed - in the background, beyond the nest - a large fallen tree. It had been broken at its trunk as if it had been a twig.

"God, what in the world was going on during that storm?"

Suddenly, the nest and the tree were a picture to me of life on this planet ~ a picture that represents all of those questions we're saving up for God ~ a picture of "those days" when we are ready to throw in the towel because 2 + 2 never quite equals 4.

Those days leave us all struggling to catch our breath. Way too often . . . life doesn't make sense. Good people - who love God - struggle under the weight of heavy loss. Selfish people - who live lives of total disregard for any person or any god but themselves - seem to enjoy lives of abundance and ease. And every now and then, in the midst of it, almost involuntarily, we hear ourselves whisper . . .

"God, what in the world is going on?"

Why does God allow the loss, the confusion, the lack, the wait? Why does a 100 year old oak fall, and a bird's nest remain untouched? Why do saintly people sometimes suffer and at the same time, professional sinners seem to cruise through life unscathed? I suspect that even if Father God chose to explain a few details - we'd scarcely grasp them.

The truth is that He alone is able to see the entire mosaic that He has been building since before time began, whereas we can barely comprehend the single tile that we've been placed on. These are the days when we must choose to trust an ever faithful God whose actions (or inactions) we may not understand. He loves us. He only has our ultimate, eternal good in mind. He is faithful. And He is glorified when we trust Him during the confusion.

Deep down, of course, we know these things about our God. We really do. We know that we can't comprehend His immeasurable love for us. We know that He has plans for our lives. (Jeremiah 29:11) We know that He promises . . . "never to leave us nor forsake us." (Joshua 1:5) We know that He has . . . "engraved our names on the palms of His hands". (Isaiah 49:16) We know that He is holy and awesome and good and truly a perfect parent. We know . . . in our heads. Our hearts, however, sometimes need reminders.

Soooooo . . . . I am asking the Father to use the picture of the bird's nest and the fallen tree to remind me that in the midst of powerful, destructive, fear-inducing storms in life, that He is not only capable of holding my life - my nest - together, but He desires to do so! I am asking Him to whisper in my ear a reminder of an intact bird's nest after 90 mph winds. I am asking Him to use the storms of life - not to bring fear - but to remind me of a God whose hand and whose love is mightier than ANY storm.

If He saw fit to save a bird's nest . . . if He's still counting sparrows. . .

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. Matthew 10:29,

And if He's still counting the hairs on our heads . . .

And even the very
hairs of your head are all numbered. Matthew 10:30,

Then He is STILL waiting for us to trust that His arms are long enough to reach into our lives and hold us through our present storms . . . He is enough.

As for God, His way is perfect!
(Psalm 18:30)

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Take a moment today and ask God to show you O*N*E area where trusting Him has been difficult. Ask Him to show you the first step in releasing that burden to Him. He loves you AND He is enough :)

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Father . . . teach us, show us, lead us to that place where we stop running from the storms and start running toward you. Thank you for your absolute faithfulness! We love you!

In Him...

Visit Darnelle at her blog: All Things Work Together...

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Blogger Jen said...

Wow. Those photos are amazing! Thank you so much for your encouragement. I just found your website today and feel that God has spoken to me through your words!

Many Blessings,
Jen @ God's Shining Stars

September 13, 2008 at 1:12 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

Awesome photos, bless you.

September 13, 2008 at 1:14 AM  
Blogger sailorcross said...

Trust and surrender--I SAY that I fully trust and have surrendered my full self to God. And yet, there are still times that I question some things.

Thank you for this awesome post!! It has made me realize that I need to spend some time in prayer, talk to God and learn what areas of my life I'm still holding on to, still trying to control instead of letting God have full control, complete submission to Him.


September 13, 2008 at 3:40 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

Oh I loved this picture, friend.

As usual the truths of Papa's heart come flowing out in your words....

You bless me!


September 13, 2008 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger JesusRulzMe said...


As we are in TX and were baring down and preparing for the worse, we woke up this morning wondering why Ike had not visited us yet? Ike was supposed to be here by midnight, but it is 11:16 a.m. and Ike is just arriving and turns out, has moved east of us and will not harm us as much as we had expected.

So now, we're praying for those God has chosen to move Ike towards and that He will grant them the same mercy He has given us. We're praying that God will subdue Ike so that those who are now in his path, will also, like the bird's nest, be spared.

And I echo your question:

"Why do saintly people sometimes suffer and at the same time, professional sinners seem to cruise through life unscathed?"

And have found great peace in Psalm 73

I'm in awe that God would have someone else, thousands of years ago ask the same question. Thanks Asaph for asking! :-)


September 13, 2008 at 11:24 AM  
Blogger Sondie said...

I needed this encouragement and realize that faith is a choice. I have been churning with the lesson of being faith driven instead of fear driven.

thanks for the wise words.

I choose faith.

September 14, 2008 at 7:05 AM  

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