I sat in the Ironwood forest surrounded by trees, pine needles, and the gentle stillness of the Hawaiian morning. Just a few yards away the sun illuminated crashing waves on the shore.
I was there for a purpose. Bone crushing fatigue of the mental, physical and spiritual variety brought me to the place where I did something I have never done before…I went away to a hotel for two days and one night by myself. It was going to be me and God. I was sure that all I needed was a few moments of really alone time with Him; just Him and me.
I was on a mission and I knew what I wanted; a lightning bolt of renewable energy and revelation from God. I brought my Bible, my journal, my writing tablet and a Christian fiction book. I set out for a forest that is part of the hotel property. My jaw was set as I sat down under the trees and I plunged right in.
I cried and poured out my disappointment to Him about some recent events. I explained to Him what seemed like the 24/7 demands on my schedule and energy. Laying it all out like the beggar that I was. “Please God; can you give me a new song in my heart? Can you refill my empty coffer?”
Just then, a beautiful and unusual bird flew onto an adjacent branch a few yards away. I had seen this kind of bird before and heard its unusual and lilting call. Not usually prone to asking God for signs, but still wanting one that morning, I beseeched Him to have the bird come nearer to me to demonstrate that He was with me. I watched and waited; not realizing that I held my breath but…
the bird flew away …and then it began to rain
My chest deflated and my little remaining verve left me. I sat…and sat...and sat. No longer knowing what to ask for; unmoving and empty in my chair
And, in that stillness He said, “Tracy, you are in no condition to hear from me. Rest. That’s all I am asking you to do right now…rest.” He brought to mind Elijah under the broom tree in 1Kings 19. Elijah had just faced down Jezebel and her Baal prophets. The victory was astonishing and God had clearly confirmed His power, but Jezebel’s threat to take Elijah’s life left him beaten and scared. He begged God to take his life then and there. He told God he’d had enough. He was done. Instead, God bade him to rest and eat.
So, I rested and ate. I listened to relaxing music. I read a wonderful story by Susan Meisner called, The Shape of Mercy. I even got a massage! God said do it, so I plunged wholeheartedly into it like a kid at Christmas; unwrapping my present with complete abandon. My muscles began to unwind, my mental gymnastics took a break and my spirit began to calm.
The next morning, I sat on the hotel balcony that overlooked the ocean and the mountains; breathtaking creation that filled my heart and reminded me of the vastness of His handiwork. Bible in hand, I was no longer fixated on what I wanted to hear from God. I just sat in awe.
And, at that moment….a sparrow flew into the balcony and landed near me.
It gazed at me for the longest time and in stillness I looked back. I recalled asking God for a sign from the bird the morning before, only that was a beautiful song bird and this was a simple brown sparrow. Then, I remembered that melody…
I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free. His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.
I'm like that little insignificant brown sparow; nothing impressive...but His eyes are on me and I received new assurance that He watches over me.
And, my heart filled with a song of its own…His song.