For the last six weeks, we've watched with delight as this little mama and papa sparrow have day after day flown in and out carrying bits of this and that. We've laughed as one approached the nesting box carrying a twig far too big to fit through the little hole, watched with amusement as Papa Sparrow sat for a moment on top before reluctantly releasing his prize twig and fluttering off in search of something not quite so grand. The kids have been thrilled to see them picking up tufts of fur from our bunnies or bits of horsehair that have migrated home from the ranch.
And then one day an egg was spied by a pair of peeking eyes. Some helpful child took a roll of packing tape and fastened the box so no one else would be tempted to open it and disturb this little family in the making. We watched with great anticipation as this faithful Mama and Papa took turns sitting on their clutch of eggs, flying back and forth all day long. And finally, about a week ago, we heard the first faint cheeping sounds coming from the box, and we've listened happily as the nearly constant cries have grown stronger.
It's been a hard season for our family, a walking through trials that threaten to swallow us up. My faith has been stretched and tried and stretched some more. At times I am tempted to give up, but like Peter I say, "To whom would I go?" My mind often falls into the familiar groove of worry, my stomach knotting with anxiety and fear. How many times I have stood at my kitchen window and watched these little birds! And the gentle voice of my Jesus comes, bidding me to cast my cares on Him, reminding me to look at the birds of the air.
Is it any coincidence that this year, of all years, this little pair of sparrows made their home not six feet from my kitchen sink? They are a gift, a reminder to my weary soul that if our Father cares for these little birds, how much more does He care for me and mine? Like Elijah's ravens, I believe they were sent to minister to my soul, to nourish and sustain my faith in a time when I've been tempted to despair. I have listened intently over the last week, hearing the persistent cheeping of tiny birds we've not yet seen. Their voices have changed swiftly from faint little chirps to loud and confident cries. Their Mama and Papa are continually flying back and forth to keep their brood fed.
And I am reminded, again and again, that I cannot add anything to my life by being anxious. What I can do is join my voice to the chorus that is taking place outside my window, waiting confidently, trusting that I and my family are of much more worth than those little sparrows. If our Father cares for them, then how much more will He care for us and hold us close? If these little birds hunger and are sustained, then how much more will we, who hunger and thirst for righteousness, be filled? Soon that box will be empty again, and yet for me, it will still hold the reminder of the gift that has dwelt in it through this difficult season.
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:25)