I have no idea how she got it to stick, but a very determined bird somehow built a nest on a highway sign near the entrance to Lake Arrowhead Village. Somehow defying gravity, the small nest is suspended on the hard metal surface of the sign that says California 173.
Every time I drive by the sign, I wonder why the bird chose to set up housekeeping just outside the breathtaking beauty of Lake Arrowhead. If she had flown only a few yards east, she could have perched in a sturdy pine tree and enjoyed a glorious home right by the lake. Instead, she has taken residence alongside a busy highway, adjacent to several other cold, hard metal road signs.
If I’m honest, I have to admit that I am very much like that bird when it comes to my Christian walk. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I am supposed to live an abundant, joy-filled, victorious life in constant fellowship with the Holy Spirit. And what better invitation could I receive than to walk the path with the One who created it? But instead of entering His sweet fellowship, I usually camp right outside of His presence, fretting about temporal things like money, my diet and my to-do list. When I focus on my vaporous life, I am missing the whole point of being here. In His Word, God repeatedly expresses His goal for the lives He has given us:
“You will show me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
“Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our heart.”
“You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of joy in your presence.”
~Acts 2: 28
“Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.”
“These things have I spoken to you, that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”
So what are we supposed to do to set things straight? After all, we have to live our lives in these crude cartons until we die or the LORD returns. We have to shower, dress, and work, eat, pay bills, interact with other human beings, clean, pay more bills and sleep. How are we supposed to do all of that while practicing the presence of God? Is it possible? Is it worth the effort? You bet your life it is! In fact, it’s the only thing that IS worthwhile.
In his book, Don’t Waste Your Life, John Piper puts it like this:
“(Jesus Christ) is pushing us to see our lives with a single focus, and for the cross of Christ to be that focus.”
“We waste our lives when we do not pray and think and dream and plan and work toward magnifying God in all spheres of life. God created us for this: to live our lives in a way that makes Him look more like the greatness and the beauty and the infinite worth that He really is.”
I love that Piper qualifies the way we are to live God-centered, God-glorifying lives: “If we try to display the excellence of God without the joy in it, we will display a shell of hypocrisy and create scorn or legalism.”
In my 49 years on this earth, I’ve discovered that the only way to live a joy-filled life that honors God is to stay in constant, unbroken fellowship with the Holy Spirit. When we commune with Him as we go about our day, we experience a deep sense of joy and purpose.
“Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.”
~I John 2:28
The first time I heard about this type of faith-walk was when I read a book by the lay minister Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God. In it, he discussed how he was at peace when he lived as if there were no one except God and him in the world. Sure, he lived a relatively normal life in France circa 1600 AD. But, somehow, in that normalcy, he challenged himself to pursue unbroken fellowship with the Father:
“The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things; I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees.”
In other words, stay connected to the LORD by conversing with Him throughout the entire day instead of only at certain prescribed times of prayer and Bible study. Instead of worrying, I’m slowly learning to turn my anxious thoughts into prayers. Rather than fretting about stressful circumstances, I strive to pray. And when I’m thankful, I remind myself to turn it into praise.
Admittedly, I’ve got a long way to go on this path. Hours go by when I realize I haven’t voiced a thing to my Constant Companion. I shudder at the thought that I so often ignore my LORD and Savior. But I’m trying to learn to include Him in everything because the reward of His sweet fellowship is the secret to living the abundant life.
Have you ever wondered what God’s will is for your life? He lays it out for us in easy-to-understand terms in I Thessalonians 5:16-18
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
I suppose that instruction applies even to those of us who choose to build our nests on the highway.
~Bowling for Jesus