The Sparrow Has Found Her Nest

It’s extremely quiet this Christmas morning.  I look outside at the sun and the warmth and dare to believe this is really Colorado, the land of mountains and vistas that I have come to love so profoundly.  The rest of the family is tucked quite a distance away (visiting their respective families) and today, it’s only me and God.  Silly me, I can’t forget Charlie and Howard.  Beyond a doubt, these two canines are treasured and faithful companions, especially today.  A gift, really.

It is advantageous that I have the ability to enjoy the quiet.  Some in my situation would not be able to survive the solitude.  It is for those people today I pray words of comfort and joy.

Today I remember the words of Psalm 84.  God sent them to me in a song via the Sons of Korah, because when it’s this quiet, nothing soothes the tired, weary soul like the words of God.  When it’s this quiet, you tend  to contemplate  things like relationships; family; ailing parents; your relationship with God.  With that in mind, two verses stood out for me this morning:

Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King and my God.

and

For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!

Psalm 84:3-4; 10-12

Why these verses?  Today I had no choice but to accept the bitter realization that my hunger for God remains offensive to some I have loved dearly for many years – fellow pilgrims of the faith.  Perhaps fear or unchecked disapproval of my faith forced a decision to exclude me from a seasonal ‘family’ tradition, carrying with it a sting and an ache that they knew I was alone this year.  Even with that realization, there comes a greater understanding that God is not absent.  Indeed, he is ever present.

But God is greater.  God is greater than our heart. (1 John 3:20)

Today, even when the hurt is huge, I can and do rejoice.

O Lord, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your maidservant.
You have loosed my bonds.
I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving
and call on the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people,
in the courts of the house of the Lord,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!

Psalm 116: 16-19

I can’t say I really understand why those of us in the reformed faith are often chastised and ostracized by those in mainstream evangelicalism — sometimes by those who should be fellow sojourners in the faith — walking the cobblestones with you.  It does sadden me, though, because their misunderstanding of the reformed faith is allowing a distance to develop that need not develop.  Still, I can rejoice as I reflect on the hard lessons I’ve had to learn on this journey.

  • I cannot walk their journey for them.  I can pray for them.  I can love them in spite of it all – even when criticism and judgment are wrongly placed – even when their own misunderstanding condemns unjustly.
  • I can be faithful to what God has revealed to me through his word and rest in the immeasurable joy it brings.
  • Most importantly I can wallow in this assurance:  My home is with you, God.  The sparrow has found her nest. And it is lovely and delightful.  Your leaves of grace – your twigs of mercy surround me daily and lift me higher than the mountains outside of my window – as only you can do.  Because you alone, God — you alone, are God.

Today I lay my young at your altar, Lord.  Today I lay my friends there, too.

(Note – if you want to hear the song, click on the Psalm 84 link above…. you won’t be sorry.)

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