Blessed is the Skylark!
Last week we had another Zoom meeting with Helene King and John Nuttall. As usual it was challenging and thought provoking, drawing us closer to our Father's heart to find peace that surpasses understanding.
When Helene said she wanted to speak on peace I looked for a picture to advertise it and found a picture of a small bird, which many of you would have seen. It reminded me of Matthew 6:26 "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sew or repair store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"
I love the Skylark. I'd never seen one until I moved to the countryside ten years ago and they soon became my favourite. Not much bigger than a sparrow, I love them for their song, but mainly for their bravery. As they sing they rise vertically into the air, up to a thousand feet and for up to an hour, until you can't see them but can still hear them. They then zoom (excuse the pun!) down at a vast speed to the ground. They are ground nesters which is another brave thing they do because they are much more vulnerable to predators. They have to lay three sets of eggs in a season to ensure the survival of at least some of the chicks. They are an endangered species but the biggest threat to their survival is man. They mainly like to nest in farmer's fields but because farming practises have changed and autumn-sown cereals are taller and denser throughout the season less birds are able to nest there. Increased insecticides and weed killers also remove an important part of the food source.
The reason I am telling you this is because when I hear the Skylark it takes me to my happy place. Even in winter on the greyest day they brighten my day. It's been proved that when people are in nature, it lifts the spirits. It can be different things for different people but just walking in fresh air amongst trees and fields can increase your feel good endorphins. I believe God created all things for good and our enjoyment (although I might have a few questions about some creepy crawlies when I meet Him face to face!) and I also think that we still have so much more to discover about the use of plants and herbs as remedies. However, I don't want to take anything away from the fact that people have to go through many trials, suffer depression and physical illness and sometimes can't seem a way out. Some people can't even get the opportunity to visit the outside.
But the joy the Skylarks give me are temporary, When I am worrying about something it is still there when I come home from my walk. In John 16:33 Jesus said "In this world you will have trouble" but it is followed by "but take heart! I have overcome the world" Just before this this the eyes of the hearts of the disciples had been opened because they say "Now we can see that you know all things..........this makes us believe you came from God". After spending 3 years with Him and seeing all the miracles it is just hours before Jesus is arrested before going to the cross that the disciples really believe who He is! Jesus then prays to His Father and asks that He will protect them. As we know most of the disciples went through persecution and some died horrific deaths. But in His prayer Jesus says that the disciples are not of this world as He is not and asks that the Father "Sanctify them by the truth; your word is the truth". The protection he is asking the Father for is born out of a deep knowing of who God is, of knowing the word and the truth that comes from it. The word "truth" is used 51 times in John's gospel and more than once Jesus says the truth will set you free. As we know Hebrew words have many meanings for one word and some of them are preparedness; willingness; readiness; genuineness; sincerity; faithfulness; honesty; sooth........
This is not our home. It was given to us to steward and we have not done a very good job. I believe the eyes of the hearts of the disciples were partially opened before He went to the cross but they understood (not with their minds) fully when the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost. They knew that the protection they were given was from God himself and that was when all fear left them. I believe their eyes were opened that day to the Father's infinite love and love casts out all fear. That day they knew that they were sons of almighty God who loved them as He did his own Son. Who would have believed that the same Peter who denied Christ three times before the crucifixion would be so bold afterwards? (Who doesn't identify with Peter sometimes?) It didn't mean they would not have trouble but they knew their heavenly Father would be with them through the trials and that His Son had gone to prepare a place for them which will one day be their permanent home.
How exciting that we can have that too! So lets keep delving into the truth. Lets believe, even when we can't feel Him, that He is with us through the trials. He collects our tears in a bottle and will redeem them when we see Him and give us Beauty for Ashes.
Stay safe and stay close to your Father who loves you with an everlasting love. Enjoy the song!