This past Sunday, sometime shortly before the ungodly hour of 4:30 a.m., I was jolted out of my much-needed beauty sleep by a loud and long roll of thunder.
A spring storm was rapidly approaching, and the thunder was just a precursor to the fun to come. Within moments of regaining consciousness, I began to hear the wind violently swirl outside. I listened as the siding, shutters and gutters began to rattle with each gust. The darkness of my bedroom was periodically interrupted as lightning flashed all around us.
When the rain finally arrived, it wasn’t with a slow and gentle crescendo. It came in heavy sheets and crashing waves. I’m not sure if anyone has taken the time to name this flatland hurricane, but we should because I know it happened. I heard it with my own two ears.
I stayed in bed, hoping to catch a few more moments of rest before engaging in the insanity of another Sunday, but sleep eluded me. Time continued to tick away, and soon, the darkness of night gave way to the dawn of morning.
The storm continued to rage just outside my window, but along with the light of a new day, I began to hear the strangest of sounds join the chorus. My ears strained to cut through the clatter of the storm to discern what I was hearing. Suddenly, it hit me. The sound I was hearing was the singing of birds. In spite of the violent storm that raged around them, these birds were still joyfully ushering in a new day of life.
I was shocked these birds were up and at it in less than optimal circumstances. One would have understood and expected these little creatures to hunker down and hide away until the storm passed.
I knew that many of my congregation would be doing just that later that same morning, opting to join us via the wonders of the Internet rather than braving the elements for even the few steps between their houses and their vehicles and their vehicles and the church building. Yet, as the lightning crashed, the thunder rolled and the rain poured down, these birds were chirping away, seemingly living their best lives.
I don’t think the aforementioned scenario is exactly what Jesus had in mind when he told his listeners to “look at the birds of the air” in Matthew 6, but the principle communicated in the passage certainly applies. The point Jesus is making is that whatever the circumstances, God is faithful and can be trusted to care for us in exactly the way we need him.
He goes on to note that, “Each day has enough trouble of its own.” I think the converse is true, as well, though. While each day certainly has its troubles, each day also has a share of joy.
It is so easy to get caught up in the details of the storms that beset us. I confess I am the worst of sinners when it comes to this. A breath of wind and a mist of rain quickly evolves into the next super storm in the recesses of my mind.
As I imagine all of the dangers and difficulties that might develop, I often overlook the wonders and blessings that already are. The truth is even if the storm does happen to develop, it doesn’t diminish the good things that God has in store for me. The issue then is not my circumstances but my ability and willingness to see through and within them.
Perhaps we could all benefit from looking at or listening to the birds. If they in the simplicity of the means and circumstances have reason to sing during the storms of life, how much more reason do we have to sing with the abundant blessings and faithful care that God continues to provide? No matter how significant the storm, there is always a reason to sing.
The Rev. Jeremy Myers is the lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Seymour. Read his blog at jeremysmyers.com. Send comments to [email protected]