I heard a bird outside my window, singing loudly and chirping in the coldness. I looked for him in my hydrangea bush, thinking I would find him perched on one of the outstretched branches. With no success, I could not see him. Yet . . . I still heard him — a birdsong in the bleakness of winter.
I knew he was out there, so I stubbornly kept looking. Leaning forward, craning my neck in all directions, until I finally found him in the last place I thought he should be — singing his heart from the middle of my cold, hard sidewalk.
How I wished I could be like this bird. Not afraid of the cold. Confident in the exposure. Singing in the hardness. Instead, I was hiding on my sofa, in my fuzzy pajamas, surrounded by a snowy blanket of soggy tissues. My confidence and joy were gone after my divorce, custody battles, and now an unplanned hysterectomy.
But God was trying to show me something through this bold, beautiful little bird. God was calling to me, singing His song for me and quieting my sobbing with His love. He reminded me that His joy — a joy that I did not have to produce on my own — would be my strength.
We expect to find God in branches of blessings — in a happy family, a successful job, a warm house, and a stress-free life. We think if we do not have them, He does not care for us. We think that if everything goes wrong, we did something wrong . . . as if He turned away the moment we fell away.
Listen . . . God is calling us. Keep listening, for He is singing in the coldness of our discomfort. In the hardness of our struggles.
He is calling us to find Him. He is calling us to love Him. He is calling us to see that He is there, in our messy mess — in the battle — singing a promise of victory.
“The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17 ESV
Where was God in my divorce? In the court-filled days when I fought for the custody of my only child? In the hysterectomy shattering any possibilities for future children? In all my battles ending in failure?
He was there. Even there. Always there.
Through my feathered friend’s song, I was gently reminded how to be still and listen for God’s call.
Be still . . . and trust He is there, even in the bleakness. Be still . . . and know that He is God. He will never change His mind about His love for us. His grace will never be withdrawn from us. Nothing we ever do will cancel what He has already done for us.
He is singing out my name — a name engraved on the palms of His hands. He is singing in the middle of my darkness, my sickness, my loss. He is singing, even when I mess up, fall down, and get turned around.
God is calling, promising I will find Him: “You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you” (Jeremiah 29:13-14).
God is calling, asking that I trust Him: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
God is calling . . . so I hold out my hands full of hopes and dreams and place everything at His feet. Then I still myself, and listen for Him with all my heart, mind, and soul.
And, in the quiet — in my cold, hard bleakness — I hear God’s loving melody calling for me, drawing me closer with His song of joy.