I opened one eye, to make sure that what I was hearing was not a mob of bats coming in through the open window to eat me…
It was seven in the morning and a flock of birds were past warming up their vocal chords, they were in full song; but even with the passion and energy the exerted, their turnes were everything but harmonious… The noise was actually so ugly that I really thought they were bats. After about an hour of tossing and turning, I finally gave in to the morning and got up from bed. To my surprise as I placed myself by the window, the birds were actually physically beautiful, and their noise was not an attempt at a song but a chorus of cackles that they shared with each other as they chased each other in the warmth of the rising sun. Their flight was smooth, the movement of their wings almost witty, and even though their color was completely black, they still seemed to bounce sun rays with their mermaid-looking tails into my open palms.
When God said, “take a vacation” a couple months ago and the plan to backpack Europe dropped into my lap, I had no idea how incredibly difficult that would actually be. Even admitting that makes me feel very selfish. I would say that the most difficult thing God has been trying to teach me is being physically unwound in His palms all the time. To me, that looks like trusting that He is going to provide for me in the material realm. That even if I have to pay 30 euros because my “1” does not actually look like a one on my europass, He is going to provide for me that day. That even if… I have nothing to worry about. To face the pride that likes to surround my heart as a wall of protection each time I feel vulnerable, and ask Jesus to drill through it and knock it down and… cry a lot as the drilling happens… and ask Him to be the seal over my heart. Well, yesterday morning as I was woken up by the hyperactive birds of Florence, God said, “Those birds have absolutely no certainty of survival and yet they are cackling within My Breath. Now, open up My Breath of Life.” I half stumbled, half crawled towards my bible, and basically joined into those birds’ morning worship. Matthew 6:25-27. COME ON.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds in the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
At this point, both my eyes were wide open; and this bible verse, that had been on repeat when I was very young, that had later died down to a whisper, and eventually just became forgotten storage in the very back of my mind, now hung outside my very window.
Back in Rome I started doubting my own value, and I think that this verse would definitely not have been the light onto my feet and onto my path that it has become if it had not been for His affirmation of how absolutely precious He finds us to be. Check out Isaiah 49. How He literally hides us in the shadow of His hand, to sharpen us into a polished arrow. How amidst adversity we will still find restoration and victory under His cloud (Is. 49:25,26). And, He writes poetry about each one of us on the palms of His body, His church: Isaiah 60. How infinitely precious, how extravagantly beautiful…
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you…“
What a wake-up call!