Just Cry Out.

I’ve taken up the habit of watching birds. It all started this past spring when I was teaching a Science unit on these feathered creatures to my elementary students. As a fun add-on to our lessons, we created bird feeders out of milk cartons, set them up in our respective yards and began observing. Long after our Science unit was complete, I continued to watch the hundreds of birds around my property throughout nesting season.

If you’ve paid attention to birds at all, you’ve probably noticed they don’t stay in one place for very long. They are always flitting about. Rest doesn’t seem to be part of their vocabulary. Which is why a small grey and white bird caught my attention one morning. I was reading my Bible and sipping my coffee, occasionally glancing out the window as I paused to think. As I did, I saw this lone bird sitting on the edge of my deck just outside the window in front of me. Paying no attention I went back to my reading. Several minutes passed and I looked up again to see the same bird was in the same place. Instantly I knew something was not right with this bird. I sat quietly and observed it for several more minutes.

At first it just sat there turning its head slowly from side to side. Carefully, cautiously, it lifted up a wing, then the other, as though stretching. After a while, though still apprehensive, it began to preen it’s feathers, stopping occasionally to look around, yet it didn’t flit, move, or hop as birds typically do. It was almost like this little grey bird knew not what to do, so it just sat there, alone, on the edge of my second story deck.

After a few more minutes I heard it begin to chirp, quietly, hesitatingly at first. Soon it’s chirp became a call, gradually getting louder as it, confidence growing, lifted his head a little higher into the air. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something diving through the air – Swoosh! It was a larger grey and white swallow swooping and circling over my deck, chirping as it flew. Mama bird circled a few times then a second swallow joined the flight pattern. Suddenly, the smaller bird that was perched on the edge of my deck took to the air and they all soared away to the safety of their nest.

As I watched this play out before me, I couldn’t help but think how much I am like that young, immature swallow. Maybe you can relate? Things are going along just fine, mountain top days of sunshine and all is well. Then something in life (or more likely in me) takes me off the narrow path of the mountain’s sunny ridge and I find myself astray, fumbling in the darkness, my heart cold to the things of the Lord, dried up like last fall’s leaves, loveless like the church of Ephesus.

But too proud to admit there is anything wrong.

So I just sit there, helpless, pretending everything is just fine, like that preening swallow. To remain there in that place is dangerous. The Scriptures are full of the sad stories of those who, rooted in their pride, stood still, and remained silent when they should have cried out. Here are just a few:

  • Cain (Gen. 4)
  • Esau (Gen.25:29-34 ; Heb. 12:16)
  • King Saul (1 Sam. 28:15-20)
  • King David, until Nathan the prophet came to visit (2 Samuel 11:1 – 12:15)
  • Judas (Matthew 26:14-16)

It didn’t end well for any of them, except David. Why did it end differently for him? because he acknowledged his sin, that there was a real problem which had separated him from his God, then cried out for mercy. He received the mercy he asked for, even though he didn’t deserve it. Psalm 51 records David’s plea.

Says the LORD to us who find ourselves in this dangerous place next to Cain, Esau, or this little grey bird:

“Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God for He will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:6-7

Can you hear God’s heart for sinners who stand still, too proud to admit there’s a problem?

Says Jesus to those glancing this way and that, preening their feathers:

“Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

“O Jersusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” Matthew 23:37

Can you feel His compassion for us in those pleading words?

The incredible truth is this: when we do call out, He will come, just like mama bird did for her young which was in danger.

“Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jerimiah 29:13

“Call to Me and I will answer you….” Jeremiah 33:3

“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;………He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.” Psalm 91:14-16

Seek the Lord with all your heart. You will find Him. And with Him you will find abundant mercy.

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer.

I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.”

And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.

For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You in a time when You may be found.”

Psalm 32:1-6a

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