Over the spring, a female wren decided to make her nest in one of the fuchsia baskets I hung under the eaves of the garage. The nature of this breed is such that the male prepares several nesting sites and offers the female her choice of location. This momma chose well. Surrounded with the shade of trees, ground cover of bushes and a water supply from a creek that runs through my property, she set up her nursery. I was delighted she did, for these cheerful, energetic little birds are a source of joy and song.
As I went about my gardening chores, she tended to her nestlings. It was a perfect interaction, with one exception ~ my cats. Their presence didn’t deter my feathered friends. Both the male and female were aware of them. The tiny birds were alert and sassy and went about their tasks. So it was that I had the privilege of watching the development of the little fledglings as I carefully watered the fuchsias.
The gentle watering and watching continued for weeks, until one day a little fellow poked his tiny head up and fluttered to the bush below. My excitement was brief. The cats were out and this babe was vulnerable. I reached down, picked up the little ball of fluff and returned it to the nest, thinking the disturbance of water caused a premature flight. But within a few minutes I saw him clinging to the stems of the fuchsia, flapping his tiny wings and then taking a leap to the ground.
By now I had one cat in the house, but the other was still at large. So I repeated my efforts. This time my approach met with resistance and his displeasure was heard by his parents, who were immediately on the scene chastising me with fervor. Through all the chatter, I managed to gather the fledgling once more and return him to the nest for safety. This time he tucked deep inside and I moved my remaining cat indoors. By morning the babe was gone. In the nearby shrubs, I could hear his chirps echoing the call of his parents.
I thought about our encounter. Though my intentions were to keep him from harm, his time to move beyond the shelter of the nest had come and he was compelled to do just that. Without the ability to yet fly with proficiency, he managed to get a far distance from the nest and move about in the cover of brush. The days that followed allowed me to track his movement by the presence of his parents and the resounding chirps of appreciative care.
The dangers hadn’t disappeared. They were everywhere. My cats weren’t the only ones in the neighborhood, nor were they the only threat. Birds of prey perched in the trees and dogs wandered the neighborhood. There were no guarantees that his life would not meet with peril, but the call to freedom was greater than the presence of danger. He was made for freedom ~ at any cost ~ and nothing would stop him, not even my well-meaning sentiments.
I realize his behavior was an instinct from the Creator’s hands, but it was inspirational none-the-less. I couldn’t help but think that God has a call on the lives of believers to do the same; to move beyond the comforts of our personal world in order to participate in the greater one. We have been entrusted to fulfill a purpose of living free and offering that freedom to others. Yes, it can meet with dangers in a world that longs to pounce on followers of Christ, but His truth compels us to press on and His love commissions us to heed the call. “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16 We have been given no illusions that this journey is an easy one, but we have been assured that it’s worth it.
All the combined beauty and goodness of life on earth is just a glimpse of the glory and ultimate safety that awaits believers in heaven. There the lion will lie down with the lamb, for in the presence of the Life-Giver, danger, harm and peril will be no more. I long for that day. But until then, there is work to do.
Christ has given us the Great Commission. We are to go and make disciples of all nations so that those who are in danger of eternal destruction will come to know the One who can deliver them out of it. What a promise and a privilege!
Do you hear His call? It is answered with a leap of faith.
2 thoughts on “The Empty Nest”
Oh Sherry, I so enjoyed reading this Sunday’s message!!!! You have a wonderful gift to put your heart and soul down for all of us enjoy. I will continue reading your messages even though I am not close in body but just a few miles away in Catawba. You are a very special woman to me and I thoroughly enjoy our friendship.
Amen, Sherry. Amen.