A couple of weeks ago I set the alarm for 5:00 AM to see a 5:30 AM sunrise over the Sea of Galilee in Israel. It was late and dark when we checked in the night before, but the back of the hotel was right on the water. You just can’t miss a sunrise like that!
The first step out of the lobby was facing west and I was about to make a U-turn east. The very first thing, on the very first day, in my very first time in Israel hit me squarely in the chin with surprising force. It wasn’t the sunrise, or a holy site, seeing the people or experiencing something brand new. It was something simple. Something ordinary. Something remarkably familiar.
The huge tree in front of the lobby was alive with sound! I couldn’t see a single bird, not at first, but I heard them! There were hundreds of sparrows nesting, stirring, chirping, singing. They joined together in a chorus that was featherly divine!
Maybe it was jet lag, lack of sleep and a bit of disorientation all wrapped into one, but it didn’t seem real. It was dream like, really.
For five minutes I never made it past the lobby front door. Of all the things that could make a first impression in the Holy Land, most people wouldn’t say it was singing birds. For me, it was.
Those singing sparrows spoke. It was as if Jesus Himself was speaking in my ear ….chirp, chirp, whistle, chirp, chirp, chirp.
In English, His words are: “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care…Don’t be afraid! You are worth far more than many sparrows!” Matthew 10:29,31
I heard it. It was all there in a tree full of sparrows.
The sunrise was phenomenal! In fact, here’s a sunrise picture I took looking out over the waters of the Sea of Galilee.
As usual, it seems pictures don’t do it justice. The meaning, the history, the hope, the eastern sky being lit by a giant, round ball of fire, it was a sight to behold!
What I’ll always remember though is the first early morning in Israel when hundreds of sparrows sang their songs! Each sparrow is known. Each one is cared for. Each has its part.
It’s so easy to become obsessed with my own little tree branch. There are always things to do, places to go, worms to catch. It’s easy to forget the big picture. I put a little bird cage around my own here and now concerns, but there’s more, always more to life than just the here and now.
It’s tragic to forget the rotation of our planet because of preoccupation and busyness in my own little nest. It’s just too easy to look at my little world while staring in the mirror and miss the grand view of today, tomorrow, even life itself.
The sparrows are cared for. They’re known. They’re valued. So are you.
The troubles, worries, all the problems, you’re not alone. At least, not unless you choose to be. There is One who looks down from Heaven and sees where you are, knows your needs, cares for you now. You are far more valuable and more deeply loved than all of the sparrows.
Sometimes life can be hard, cruel actually. Failures, mistakes, consequences of life choices can be overwhelming at times.
I don’t pretend to understand. I don’t know why bad things happen to good people, or why sometimes bad people seem to get away with murder. I don’t get why life is so unfair to some people, while others have it really good.
I do know, however, that tomorrow is a blessing. For one reason or another, many won’t see the blessing of tomorrow, or hear sparrows singing in the tree.
Walk outside. Listen for a sparrow’s song. Look for the sunrise. A new day is dawning. There is a second chance Son rise ushered in like the songs of sparrows. It’s there. Just listen. Just look.