The past couple of years were such a challenge for my family, and the understanding of God’s grace often eluded me. In the midst of the chaos, I often found myself overwhelmed, hopeless, and struggling. It was easy to get lost in the darkness and forget where my true hope was found.
And then, one day, I saw two birds, flying to and fro on our front porch. The winds came and the rains fell hard, and they grasped tightly with their tiny claws, finding refuge on the crooks of stone that protruded from our outdoor walls.
Over the course of the next few days, they flew back and forth, bringing bits of twigs and mud to create a home that they could call their own. We watched in awe as their nest slowly grew, finally large enough to hold both the male and female comfortably for the storms that were to come.
We knew that there would be eggs soon and the promise of new life. It was one of the sweetest things we had ever seen.
Until we looked down.
For beneath the nest were dark stains splattered all over our concrete porch. There were bird droppings and chunks of mud from their failed attempts to make their nest. I saw the mess and all I could think of was the extra work I would have to put in to keep it all clean-especially once the baby birds were born. What was once an inspiration, soon turned into an aggravation, a frustration, a mess.
And then, I was reminded that sometimes life is like that. When we look up in prayer and faith, we are able to see the grace of our loving Father and the hope and joy in our Savior. But when we look down, we often see the chaos instead of the children, the piles of laundry instead of the precious souls that fill them.
Looking down, it is easy to get overwhelmed, to feel like there is so very much that we have to do. We get distracted by the things and activities calling us every which way, the inanimate voices screaming louder and louder for our attention. We are often inundated with the struggles of this world, and all we see are the hardships, the dark stains on our souls, the messes we have made. We think about all the cleaning up we will have to do, all the extra work that we will have to put in.
We forget that the price has already been paid. We forget to look up.
In Christ, we have the promise of new life. He gives us peace in the midst of the storm and crooks of stone to stand on until we are ready to trust Him fully and nest in His promises.
Surrendering our lives to Christ doesn’t always take away the hard parts of life. It doesn’t mean that we will get all that we ask for or that we won’t have to work to pursue righteousness as He sanctifies us. It doesn’t mean that there will always be sunshine, for it takes the rain to make life grow.
It does mean, however, that we can look up to the promises of tomorrow and the hope of eternal life that is found only in Him (John 3:16). It means that we can see and experience the beauty of His world and find joy in the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). It means that we can call on His name for strength (Philippians 4:13), guidance (John 16:13), and wisdom (James 1:5) and trust that all things will work out for our good (Romans 8:28). It means that although we are sinners, we can call on His name, repent, and be made clean (Acts 3:19).
Looking up means that we can comfortably and wholeheartedly nest in God’s grace. We can find rest in Him through the storms of life.
And then, one day, when we’re ready, we can began to fly . . . to and fro, growing our nest a little more for those around us to do the same.