..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Disappointment with God: When Your Nest Falls

It has been a rainy few months in New England.
Seems like it rains almost every day. Each
morning I listen for the songs of the birds
that live in our yard. I know most of the
robins. You see, our family has a kind of
affinity with animals. Robins have lived
in our yard for decades. They are nearly
tame ones.

Many years ago, my mother saved a robin
who had come north from her
winter migration much too early. One
of those early spring snowstorms hit
and, my kindly mother, seeing the
hungry robin huddled in the back yard,
threw out some raisin bread for it.

The bird never forgot the kindness and
became sort of a family member. She learned to
trust us, and when she wanted
raisins she would sit on the clothes
line by our kitchen window and
peer steadily and impatiently
into the house. She would almost
eat out of our hands. She taught
her young that we were safe. And
they taught their young, on and on.

So the robins in our yards tend
to feel safe and tend to stick
around. This spring one nesting
season has already gone successfully
by despite that fact that the robin
youngster was not the brightest
bulb in robin-land.

A few days ago the mother robin
started to build another nest.
I heard a noise in the eaves and
looked out the window to see
that she had picked a spot
under the roof overhang and
on top of the downspout to build
her nest.

Really, all things being equal,
it was a good choice:protected
from rain, high off the ground,
and near the food supply.
But all things were not equal.
There was something she didn't
know. I had removed the downspout
pipe to try to clean a clog
from my window rather than
dragging out the 24 foot ladder.
I was able to clean out the clog
but was not able to get the
downspout securely back
into its position. When
it rained hard, it often fell out.

My heart sank as I saw her
happily and busily building
her new nest in this most
precarious place. It looked
secure, but it wasn't.
All day she worked. I half-
heartedly tried to warn her
away, but she was on a mission
and payed me no mind.

I kept thinking about that
nest and imagining her and
her babies plummeting to the
ground. My heart was sad.

Yesterday, we had another
downpour. Serious, heavy
rain. To my relief, I heard
the nest fall to the ground
along with the downspout.

I felt sad but happy!
That storm had really
saved her and her babies
to come.

She came by this morning
just to check on the
nest. I was waiting for
her. She sat on her
familiar perch and looked.
Looked and looked puzzled.
She saw the downed nest.

She saw me looking at her.
I wondered if she thought
that I had wrecked her nest?
I wonder if she understood
that it was the rain?
I could see her disappointment.
But off she went to look
for another place to build.

I thought about this, and thought
about what it teaches us about
life. How often have we built
our nest on something that we
thought looked secure, in
a place that delighted us,
and seemed safe, but was
precariously perched on something
that would give way in the
first storm?

Jesus warned us not to build
our house on the sand but to
build on rock, on a sure foundation.
This story can be translated
into the avian version of that

When that nest fell, it was
actually a blessing. There
were no eggs or little birds
in it yet. No real harm was
done. Just disappointment
and a few hours work.

God's grace was at work,
but did the bird understand?
Did she see me as God and
blame me for its fall?
Did she think that I
knocked it down to
be mean? Did she know
that the rain knocked
it down? Was she thankful
that the eggs were not
in it yet?

How often are we saved
from disaster but can
only see the downed nest
in our situation? We
blame God and accuse Him
of not protecting us, when
He is protecting us from
dangers we do not know of and
problems we cannot see.

How often do we get
comfortable in a situation,
with our nest built,
only to be pushed out
to another location?

Beloved ones, let us see the
hand of God in all this.
Storms may knock our nests
down, but God holds us in
His hands. Sometimes the
storm is our salvation.
Always, God knows what will
happen. If we in our ignorance,
build in a untoward location,
God can still save us.
So let us not be disappointed
in Him, for He is most surely
for us.

1 comment:

Desert Pilgrim said...

This is wonderful and very beautifully written.