Yesterday morning I washed one of my huge canvas totes that I use when we spend time on the boat, go to the beach or travel anywhere that I need bulky space taking items like large fluffy towels or such to go with us.
In fact that's what I packed in them this time - large fluffy beach towels for the lake over Memorial Day weekend. But when those came back home in our dirty clothes bag I used it to put our unused food items in and something leaked. Something very stinky that I suspect was was the container of onions and peppers for the fajitas we didn't make. So I placed the bag in our washer. But it being the large bulky item it is, I decided to dry it by hanging it outside.
Last night before bed I checked it but even the intense heat of yesterday hadn't dried it thoroughly enough so I decided to leave it hanging for a few more hours over night on our side entry stoop.
This morning after I had a couple cups of coffee I remembered it was still out there and decided to go check it again. Imagine my surprise to find strands of moss, grass, a few small twigs and two of those things that fall from certain trees each spring that we always referred to as 'helicopters' when I was a kid.
I stood there peering down in the bag for a few moments honestly perplexed. I mean it was hanging on the storm door handle. How did the stuff get in there? Why? It's a very thick heavy canvas material. What in the world?
Then it dawned on me. Birds!
And I stood there on my stoop in the morning sun imagining how some small bird, or pair of birds, worked so extremely diligently to attempt to get enough materials in this canvas bag hanging on our door to build a nest.
With the canvas handles both looped close together on the door knob it couldn't have been easy even if the bird(s) didn't enter the bag themselves. It was still quite a job either way. How strong was the desire to be secure and have place to feel at home and at peace that they would risk being at our kitchen door so many times where we come and go? Did they work at it even in the cloak of darkness? How did they go about deciding what materials to gather? But most of all in my heart I was questioning with bewilderment - why rush to nest in the bag instead of in the huge strong provided silver maple tree just a few feet away, up high where it would be safe?
Then a piece if scripture came to my mind... something about a sparrow choosing to nest on the altar of God. What was that? It was in the old testament for sure. Somewhere in Proverbs or maybe Psalm?
So I got to digging and sure enough there it was - Psalm 84:3 "Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar"
What a wise choice - no more a secure location could be found!
I had lunch with a friend yesterday and part of our conversation immediately sprang back to mind as well in that moment. We were talking after lunch about trusting God with our inadequacies, with our secrets revealed, and with our children - with everything. And how when we do that its just the most blessed feeling of security and provision that there is!
We had been talking about some of the times in our lives that we each realized just how trustworthy He truly is.
As I sat with my bible open to His Word I began praising Him and thanking Him for this full circle moment for me! As I face more uncertainties, I am grateful He used that lunch time conversation yesterday to encourage me that He is STILL THERE. That we can do ALL things with a supernatural strength when we place our security and trust in Him!
And here He was confirming for me with this small unfinished nest in a canvas tote bag what happens if I don't think through living in a safe place, when my home and heart are depending on perilous things. I must always make my safe place in Him. I must place my heart, my life, my family, and my all in His care. I must live as near to His altar as possible at all times, where the ultimate sacrifice was made. Because that is the only true place of rest, joy, peace, life, protection for me, for my family, the only place of blessings, strength, and of provision
Read the song with me that David wrote so long ago in Psalm 84...
1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
2 I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God.
3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God!
4 What joy for those who can live in your house, always singing your praises.
5 What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
6 When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.
7 They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.
8 O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, hear my prayer. Listen, O God of Jacob.
9 O God, look with favor upon the king, our shield! Show favor to the one you have anointed.
10 A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.
11 For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.
12 O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you.
As I pulled the pieces of the unfinished nest from the bag and prayed for the birds to find a safer choice, I then prayed for myself, my family, my friends, my church, for you - that we all would truly seek to nest around HIS altar, where the protection of the blood of Christ, the power of our sovereign Heavenly Father, and the wisdom of the ages can house us and keep us!