Hope Mourns the Sparrow

One of the joys of my life arrives every morning when I feed the birds.

I am praying my new place will include a small back yard where I can pour out the seed, call to the birds and watch these amazing creatures float toward me.Jesus Calling - Sept 1

But last week, we had a surprise visitor. A huge hawk swooped down, rapidly chose his prey and killed one of my sparrows. With sharp talons, he easily lifted his breakfast from my deck, then disappeared in the early morning fog.

Most of the time, we don’t pay attention to sparrows. We are attracted to the flashy cardinals, the sweet chickadees and even the raucous blue jays with their blue and silver details.

Sparrows are just the extra birds that fly near us, their plain brown feathers almost an invisible blend on weathered decks. Perhaps an afterthought in the creator’s mind, the bird with which to compare all the others.

Sparrows don’t seem to matter much. Unless you’re one of them.

During this transition time, I empathize with the sparrow. I feel as if the flashy authors of the world have passed me by, and I am trying to catch up.

Other ministers and writers have spent years honing their careers while I stayed in the background, worked in administrative roles, quietly pointed the mouse and clicked on Excel charts.

Others developed speaking ministries, world-wide podcasts and reams of manuscripts while I worked three jobs to raise my son and try to survive.

“Bless me, too, my Father,” is often the cry of my heart.

Now…during this time of the unknowns, I feel even more sparrow-ish than before. My own drab browning pales in comparison with those who seem to have it so easy.

Yes, I know this sounds like whining. But I struggle between authenticity, the brutal honesty of the heart and a complaining spirit. I wish I knew the difference.

I want to see my own dreams come to pass even as I know the desires of my heart may not necessarily sync with the whispers of the divine.

Predators of discouragement and fear stalk me. So quickly, they sharpen their talons and wait for my most vulnerable moments to swoop in and destroy hope.

Yet some days – praise God – more days than not – I remember how God cares for even the sparrow.

Not one of us falls without his knowledge and empathic tears. Each of us, though feeling drab, are still painted with his art – each feather delicate in his design.

I replay a favorite hymn, grateful for the internet and the YouTube software that makes it easily accessible.

His eye indeed on this sparrow. My heart secure in the knowing that he cares for me.

Sparrows of the past are still mourned. Each one a creation missed, a relationship betrayed, an opportunity denied.

Yet the One who created them in the first place still exists and promises an even better life to come.

Here’s to all of us sparrows in the world. We occupy important spaces in the universe, each of us here for a purpose – for a time.

May we embrace our lives for what they represent, a glorious praise for the presence of each day and a supreme hope for a better tomorrow.

©2016 RJ Thesman – Author of the Reverend G books http://amzn.to/1rXlCyh

Advertisements

Trappings of Junk

20140516_095511A plastic bag is stuck in my elm tree. It’s too high for me to reach it, and I’m way past the days when I shinnied up the bark of my favorite tree and journaled while talking to the birds. I’m not climbing up there to pull it down.

I don’t know how to get this nasty old plastic bag out of my tree, so I’ll have to just wait until another Kansas storm blows through and somehow unfastens it from that particular branch.

But I hate how it spoils the beauty of nature – that white plastic in the middle of all those beautiful green leaves and the occasional crimson of my cardinals. I hate how the manufacturing of our plastic world has ruined nature’s purity.

I wonder if God also hates how we have ruined his lovely world. Black smoke pours from factory chimneys and discolors his turquoise sky. Tin cans litter mountain streams. Junk food clogs up the arteries of his most prized creation, the ones he created on the sixth day and declared that we were, “Very good.”

The junk of our sins that we so easily invite into our lives destroys trust in relationships and casts dark shadows on generations of children. Addictions, murder, gossip – all these and more create a blight on the purity of God’s plan and keep us from living the abundant life our souls crave.

Yet we can’t seem to do anything about it. Just like the plastic bag in my tree. Our cruelties to each other and our weaknesses within ourselves keep waving at us a reminder that nature and life is not as it should be.

We wait for the next storm and hope it will somehow release us and make everything all right again.

Sometimes I grow so tired of all the trappings of junk. It’s easy to lose hope when I recognize the root of evil traipsing across my television and spot it in myself as well. There but for the grace of God go I.

Reverend G reminds us how fragile life is and how quickly it can change. “All human beings live with the same predicament. We occupy our bodies, our workplace and our homes until God says, ‘Time’s up. Come home.’ Then a bullet rings out or cancer swallows the last healthy cell or a blood clot races to the heart and we’re done.

“The only way to focus on life and not lose hope is to remember that each day matters. Live in the current moment, which occupies an undetermined number of minutes. Smile, hug our loved ones and bless God by serving him every day. Then when that bullet, that cancer cell or that blood clot knocks on the door—we’re ready to leave.”

So I guess that’s the answer to my plastic sack problem and all the impurities of our world. Trust God to make it right some day, to blow through our world with his powerful grace and purify everything.

But in the meantime, do my best to keep my corner of the world clean, to serve God every day and bless others by sharing the hope he shares with me.

©2014 RJ Thesman – “Intermission for Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/1l4oGoo