A DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT by Barbara Latter
The following is an excerpt from The Gift Within the Quarantine, written by Dr. Dean Nelson who is a long-time friend and the Founder and Director of the Journalism Program at Pt. Loma Nazarene University:
“Almost every morning since I’ve been working from home these past few months, I watch my neighbors argue. I open my garage door, set up my stationary bike in the driveway, pedal hard for about 30 minutes and observe the drama. It’s amazing how that tiny bird can dive-bomb the much bigger and noisier crow. They squawk and chirp at each other as they shoot straight up in the air then straight down, the crow making evasive maneuvers. When the big crow finally flies to a nearby pine tree, the little bird flies back to the top of a palm tree, just a few feet away. The two still face each other and argue from their respective perches. Classic schoolyard taunting, only in different octaves.”
It’s not too difficult to connect the war between the crow and little bird to the strife we are seeing during this tumultuous time. The constant flow of news through television, social media and even our cell phones are invading our personal space, demanding our attention and alienating us. Dr. Nelson calls them the “Crows of Distraction.”
E. Stanley Jones, a Christian missionary wrote the following in the 1940s:
“The outer arrangements of men are awry because the inner arrangements of men are awry. For the whole of the outer arrangements of life rests upon the inner. Men cannot get along with each other because they can’t get along with themselves.”
He could have written that today. It’s like we are fighting a physical virus on the outside as we’re fighting a different kind of virus inside.
Satan is hard at work during these unsettled days. He delights in sending “crows” to interfere with our faith-walk. There are Crows of Disruption, Distraction and Deception, to name a few. They derail our thinking, keep us from staying on task and, worst of all, interfere with our pursuit of spiritual growth.
The Crow of Distraction has been especially true for me. I thought that during this time of being socially distanced I would be able to immerse myself in Scripture and prayer to a greater extent than ever. I know what this requires of me – setting aside time in an atmosphere of uninterrupted peace. Yet, when I sit for a quiet time of scripture reading and meditation, I’m barely through three verses before my mind begins to wander on the minutia of daily life. Is this true of anyone else?
Yes, the “crows” of distraction pursue us. But the “crows” are not the problem. Our response to them is.
What do we do with the crows in our lives? What keeps us from moments of absolute silence; when we let nothing enter our minds; when we experience just the mere-ness of being, of letting the Holy Spirit minister to us in a way only He can?
I read this the other day and it brought a spiritual perspective to me:
The only bird that will peck at an eagle is the crow. He sits on his back and bites his neck. The eagle does not respond or fight with the crow. It doesn’t waste time or energy on the crow. It simply opens its wings and begins to rise higher in the sky. The higher the flight, the harder it is for the crow to breathe. Eventually the crow falls due to lack of oxygen. (Author Unknown)
I see in that story an analogy to the words of David in Psalm 61:1-4:
“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.
I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.”
David is expressing that the place of security is beyond his reach; only God can provide that safe place for him.
So, I tell myself, “Stop wasting your time with the crows. Go to the Rock of your Salvation, ‘the rock that is higher than I.’” The “crows” will soon lose their ability to “breathe” and fade away.