February 13, 2011

Thoughts about a bird and God

Happy Valentine’s Day-OK so it’s a day early. The focus of Valentine’s Day is on romantic love, of course. All love points to the greatest Love Story of all-that of God for us, his Beloved. The Song of Solomon, one of the shorter books of the Bible, has been called an allegory for the love of God for us. Chapter 2, verses 8-13 seem to capture the essence of how we eagerly we should wait for our Lord.

 “The voice of my beloved! Look, he comes, leaping upon the mountains, bounding over the hills. My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Look, there he stands behind our wall, gazing in at the windows, looking through the lattice. My beloved speaks and says to me: Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.”

We can meet God in prayer and in quiet and in the stories that nature itself tells. Last summer I watched a mother grackle encourage her baby to fly. I was entranced by the tableau being acted out in the neighbor’s tree. In the past, I've seen grackle youngsters try to fly too soon and end up at the foot of the tree. They are not strong enough to get back to the nest and unless the parents feed them they usually, sadly, die. The young bird I was watching on the branch was older and not as foolhardy as some of his kin. In fact, this one wasn’t inclined to try flying at all.

Watching the mother grackle encourage her baby, I was reminded vividly of the way God urges us gently to take one step at a time. First out of the nest onto the branch, then a short flight, then a longer one, and so on until we are willing and able to fly as we were made to. When I told friends about my observations, they insisted that the story had to be told. Lester’s First Flight was the result. It’s my first strictly children’s book and I’ll admit that the creation of it took longer than some of my full length novels! The little book is now available, though. If you have children in your life, Lester’s First Flight would make a lovely Easter gift! You can order a copy and download games from my website.

Over the past few years I've walked with a friend through her husband's major health issues. I'm reminded that God's timing is always perfect. They just received word that his is at the top of the list for a vital organ transplant that will not only improve his quality of life, but actually save his life. Walking with my friend through this real-life saga has shown me that like Lester's mother, God helps us take a step at a time until we are in just the right place at the right time. When all the pieces are in place, God acts. We may feel like we know better what the timing should be, but God knows when we are ready to fly. Like the Song of Solomon says, [at the right time] "The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land."

I hope you will hear God calling to you “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.” Or maybe God is saying “take flight and soar with me.” God calls us each Beloved. Hear him in your heart!

Next week, we’ll return to Christopher Wordsworth’s hymn. See you then.

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