One cannot miss the distinctive look of a barn swallow as it flits by. On Monday, as my grandson Ben and I were walking from our car into a local pharmacy we saw and heard two of them. Their steel blue tops shimmered and their rusty-colored throats and creamy underparts stood out and helped us identify them.
Originally, barn swallows built their nests on rocky ledges or tree trunks. However, today much of their nesting takes place on building rafters or ledges. Their nests are made in the shape of a cup and consist of mud reinforced with grass and lined with feathers. The constant chattering of the two birds made Ben and I look up. The ceiling of the pharmacy porch has several hanging lights on it, and sitting on top of one of them was the nest that two birds had made.
The swallows chose a protected spot in the warmth and light for their nest. The Lord brought to my mind what the Psalmist wrote about the sparrow and swallow. "My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. 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, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they are ever praising You. Selah.” (Psalm 84:2-4)
We, like the swallows, can have a bright, warm and protected spot to dwell in when we choose to "nest" in the shelter of the Most High. "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.'" (Psalm 91:1-2)
Just as the swallows will have light and warmth for themselves and their young, we can have these benefits by drawing near to the Lord. The light of God's love is so necessary in today's dark world, and He promised to give us light as we stick close to Him. "...I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness." (John 8:12) The writer of Ecclesiastes realizes the importance of staying connected to others. He says, "If two lie down together, they keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?" (Ecclesiastes 4:11) And the best connection we can make is with the Lord.
The Lord has room for every one of us in His shelter. He calls us to draw close to Him for protection, warmth and light. May our confession be that of the Psalmist: "I long to dwell in Your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of Your wings. Selah. For You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name." (Psalm 61:4-5)
Joan E. Mathias