To Kill A Blackbird…

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I’ve had a little bit of free time lately.  I think it’s mainly because it’s too cold to go outside and do anything.  Tonight it’s supposed to get down to like 4 degrees…that’s stinking cold, my friends.  While I’ve had all this free time, I’ve found things to do at home, I’ve blogged more, I’ve let my creative streak run a little wild by embroidering.  I know what you’re thinking.  How awesome is she?  Freaking awesome is right!  I like to stay busy.  When I have free time, I like to fill it.  Constant motion.  That’s the name of the game, right?

The last two mornings there have been thousands of black birds in the fields around my house…and when I say the fields around my house, I feel like I need to explain a little bit about the layout of my property.   My house sits on just a little over two acres.  The remaining 38 acres of the 40-acre piece is a big field.  Fifty yards in front of my house is a road, and on the other side of the road is another few fields.  Lots of farm ground all around me.  The only time I haven’t loved it is when all the fields had been planted with corn and I came home in the middle of the night after having just watched Signs.  I was a little anxious to get inside that night.  Other than that, it’s been great.

But back to the thousands of black birds.  I don’t know if you’ve ever been in the middle of a blackbird feeding frenzy, but it’s a little weird.  I looked out my front door to see birds flying every direction in front of the house, above the house, across the road, just zooming back and forth.  I’m not sure if there was some leftover grain in the fields from the crop that was harvested in October or what, but all I know is there were thousands of blackbirds and they were very loud.

I used to think that birds made beautiful noises.  And, having lived in the country all my life, I do know that there are some really beautiful calls that some birds have.

Blackbirds screech.  It’s not pleasant at any time of the day, but at six a.m., it’s definitely not acceptable.

I went out early to start my car this morning to warm it up ’cause it was so freaking cold into the midst of all the screeching blackbirds.  I opened the door and they all started flying.  What I noticed, though, when they all started flying was that they became silent.  All the screeching halted as they were focusing on their flight and moving to a new and safer location.  Once they landed again, though, the horrible noise began again.

I don’t now about you, but when I get focused on a task, I get quiet, contemplative and driven.  One of my favorite stories in the Bible is Nehemiah.  I love it because it’s a miraculous story of hard work.  Does that make sense?  I mean, God could have told Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem and speak and the wall would be built, but He didn’t.  He could have told him to walk around the city and then the wall would be built, but He didn’t.  What He did was send Nehemiah to get the people involved, to work hard and to build the city wall back up to fortify the city.  During this process there were lots of struggles.  They were under constant threat of attack every single day.    At one point it got so bad that Nehemiah says this:  “Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.” Nehemiah 4:23

At another point, and this is one of my favorite parts, some of Nehemiah’s enemies send a message wanting to meet with him.  He knew that they were planning to harm him, so he sends back this message: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down.  Why should the work stop while I leave and go down to you?” Nehemiah 6:3

In my mind I see it as Nehemiah was getting tired.  All around him there was this screeching and finally he’d had enough.  I probably wouldn’t have said it so eloquently, but he was just saying, Hey, Dude.  You suck.  I’m working.  Leave me alone.  This thing I’m doing?  Yeah.  It’s gonna rock your world.  This city will be awesome again and is probably gonna be coming after you very soon.  Just watch your back.

Maybe not exactly like that, but close…I’m sure of it.

Nehemiah didn’t get distracted.  And through hard work, determination and the hand of God, the wall around Jerusalem was rebuilt in 52 days.  That’s without cranes, bulldozers, vehicles of any sort, and being under the threat of attack at all times.  Good stuff.

I’ve been reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan lately.  He talks about the parable of the sower quite a bit.  I love the way he puts it.  “I think most American churchgoers are the soil that chokes the seed because of all the thorns.  Thorns are anything that distracts of from God.  When we want God and a bunch of other stuff, then that means we have thorns in our soil.  A relationship with God simply cannot grow when money, sins, activities, favorite sports teams, addictions or commitments are piled on top of it.”

Ouch.

And then this: “Has your relationship with God actually changed the way you live?  Do you see evidence of God’s kingdom in your life?  Or are you choking it out slowly by spending too much time, energy, money and thought on the things of this world?”

Seriously, man.  Freaking ouch.

Great things can happen when you’re focused.  As in the case of the blackbirds, there’s silence.  They escape what they think is danger and land in a new place where there’s new food and security in their numbers.  When you are focused, you can build a wall around the whole City of Jerusalem without any power tools in 52 days.

Sometimes I have this laser-beam focus, and I can get anything done.  Most of the time, though, I let myself get distracted.  What I forget most of the time?  God works miracles every day.  It’s not always turning water into wine or raising the dead.  Sometimes it’s giving someone focus for a large task.  Sometimes it’s bringing a community together to do something huge.  And sometimes it’s giving rest.

I like the last one.  I’m going to sign off and pray that God chooses to bless me with rest this evening.  Especially since at 6:00 a.m. I’m sure I’ll be hearing the screeches of all those blackbirds again.  Think Alfred Hitchcock.

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