Where You Build Your Nest


A few weeks ago I noticed a tiny, delightful looking bird swooping down between the eaves of our house and landing on the wreath of our front door. It wasn’t long before I saw she was busy building a nest, and to my children’s delight, we were able to watch the entire process. Every day she’d gather more and more sticks and branches and random pieces of trash and slowly constructed a little home. The day we noticed her eggs was like Christmas, except warmer. Five little eggs, snug in their roost. And every day after that, my daughter and I would take turns peaking over the little spectacle to see if they’d hatched. When they finally did, we all tried to whisper when peaking over to see their little sleeping forms. And that sweet little bird would sit on her nest and we could watch her from the inside taking care of her babies.

It wasn’t until a few days later, however, I noticed that the front door was covered, coated, and slimed in a mess of bird poop. Gone went the romantic notion of a bird making her nest on our front door. Finally, her babies learned to fly and the nest is now an abandoned poop-covered mess. I’m throwing it away today.

But, aside from the gross reality of a family of birds using my front door as a home complete with a toilet- it reminded me of a verse I’ve long loved in one of my favorite Psalms:

Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young– a place near your altar, LORD Almighty, my King and my God” (Psalm 84:3).

I’ve probably read that Psalm a thousand times, but I never paused to think of the audacity of the words. There were so many rules and precarious instructions concerning God’s temple in the Old Testament and the things that could and could not be allowed, and yet little birds found safe places in the most terrible of holy places.

I read that although it doesn’t say for sure, most people assume David wrote this Psalm, and I think that’s terrific because David had such a handle on God’s heart. David, who God specifically chose to call His Son after: Jesus, the Son of David. David, who ate the show bread when it was against the rules and who worshiped God so unabashedly that his own wife was ashamed. David, who murdered and coveted another man’s wife and yet knew he could still ask God, “restore to me the joy of my salvation and do not take Your spirit from me” (Psalm 51:12).

And I can just imagine David’s supreme delight, looking up into the tabernacle (since we know it wasn’t until after his death that his own son built the temple), and spotting nests very similar to the one that is decorating our front door. How he must have pondered that, and deduced that the Almighty God was at once the vanquishing, terrible, powerful, awfully huge God, and also the gentlest, kindest, loveliest Creator who dealt tenderly even with the little birds. I want my heart to lay hold of that truth too.

To understand that God allows us to call Him our Abba, and if sparrows can make a nest in His nearness and presence, than certainly so can we. To be confident that His terror will not fall on us when we find wings that fly us nearer to make our home in Him, and entrust even the things we hold dearest, our very own children, to His keeping.

The invitation this Psalm speaks is relentlessly romantic and mirrors what John 15:4 reads in the Message: “Live in Me. Make your home in Me, just as I do in you.”

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