I love getting up in the early morning to the sweet sound of birds chirping and singing. Regardless of how stormy the night before they greet each new day with joy and cheerfulness. To hear their joy and their worship always brings joy to my own heart, reminding me that today belongs to the Lord.
Jesus also spoke about birds and God’s care for them. “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” (Matthew 6:25–26, NASB95) Later in Matthew Jesus taught, “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. “So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29–31, NASB95) While we have many different kinds of birds singing in the morning chorus the sparrows are among them.
I also enjoy the daring barnstorming flight of our barn swallows as they dodge and dart after insects. It’s amazing how quickly they can turn and dive, outdoing the bravest of barnstormers. While other birds might fly up to an open barn window land on the sill to make sure it is safe before flying in, barn swallows dive through the opening at full speed. They are fearless and agile in their flight.
Scriptures also mention swallows, not in their flight but in their choice of homes. “How lovely are Your dwelling places, O Lord of hosts! My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. The bird also has found a house, And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, My King and my God. How blessed are those who dwell in Your house! They are ever praising You. Selah.” (Psalm 84:1–4, NASB95)
During the winter months, our area is blessed with vacationing bald eagles. Mostly they stay by the river. A few have chosen the area to hatch young but most sit on trees and fish from the river. Whether they are in flight or just resting on a limb there is a majesty in their appearance. While the hummingbird furious beats their wings the eagle seems to effortlessly glide along. They don’t fight the air, the ride on it, soar through it.
Of course, the verse that most think of in regards to eagles is Isaiah 40:31. “Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” (Isaiah 40:31, NASB95) The eagle is also cited for its swift and surprising attack in verses such as Job 9:26 and Jeremiah 48:40.
Lastly, there is another kind of bird that also reminds us of our nature. While the sparrow sings, the swallow barnstorms, and the eagle soars there is the jay. In our area, we have blue jays. They are a pretty blue with a long tail and crested head. Other areas of the country have a different kind of blue jay that is darker. In the mountains of Washington state, we were introduced to the gray jay which is a colorless version of our blue jay. The gray jay has garnered another nickname, camp robber. Whether it is the nest of other birds or the food of the plate of a camper these birds will steal whatever they can find.
While not mentioned by name these robbers of the bird species bring John 10:10 to mind. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10, NASB95) The jays, the camp robbers, are perfect examples of the first part of this verse. They would rather eat the eggs; stealing the life, promise, and possibility of other birds to feed their own needs.
So, we have a choice. We can choose to avoid the way of the jay, the camp robber. Trusting in Jesus for the cares of life instead of robbing them from others. How often do we steal someone’s joy, or kill their agility and ability, or seek to stop someone from soaring because we, in our self-dependency, can’t get our feet off of the ground? We can choose to greet the Lord with praise and worship regardless of the storm we’ve been through or the dark skies we see in the future. We can choose to fearlessly and dauntlessly follow Christ wherever He leads with the agility of a swallow. We can choose to soar with Christ, to effortlessly ride the winds of life because we are yoked to him and His majesty.