You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)
At first we were annoyed at the four cowbirds bullying the little sparrow—all puffed up, chasing and squawking, like a mob about to rough up its victim. Now, numerous times each day, we marvel as that little sparrow drops food into their mouths.
Cowbirds are natural born freeloaders. They don’t build their own nests but rather lay their eggs in other birds’ nests. This may mean pushing out or destroying another bird’s eggs so the cowbird’s will fit. The nest-builder sits on the eggs, assuming they are her own, and in this case a sparrow became the unsuspecting mother of four cowbirds. She is raising birds much larger than herself instead of hatching and feeding her own little babies, from her own eggs, in her own nest.
These cowbirds are relentless, chasing their little mama sparrow, mouth open, begging for food. It’s all this sparrow can do to keep up with them. This is probably not what she had in mind when building her nest.
We have our own carefully laid plans and dreams of seeing them fulfilled. Often, and sometimes suddenly, we find ourselves in situations far from those we had hoped for.
Indeed, like the sparrow’s eggs, our plans may be pushed aside, re-arranged, or dashed altogether. Could any of us have imagined or predicted at high school graduation the career, relationships, missed opportunities, good and bad fortune that life has brought?
Guide us on the path you have purposed for us. As we put our hope in You, help us to long for Your eternal purpose even when it may mean letting go of our temporal dreams.
Proverbs 13:12 addresses this human dilemma: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
Hope may be deferred, but hope isn’t lost. What we hope for may change; Who we hope in remains. Yes, we may have to relinquish our expectations. And that process is rarely easy. Most times, in fact, it is exhausting, like that industrious sparrow, gathering food for the unexpected nestlings. Ultimately, and in hindsight, we can admit that our deepest longings to be where God wants us are fulfilled when we let go and accept where He leads us.
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