“Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.” Psalm 147:1 (ESV)
Bushy pine trees tower outside the window where I sit in morning worship. On one particular day, getting my mind and heart into an attitude of reverence and adoration was made more difficult by the raucous squawking of birds sitting on those pine branches. More often I hear melodic songs from the birds but that morning the sounds were raspy and discordant. Then through the trees I saw the reason for all this screeching: a squirrel, bushy tail wagging mischievously, was running back and forth on the fence, taunting the birds. Only when he gave up his heckling for the morning did silence—and eventually singing—return.
What is it that turns my melodies of worship into shrill complaint or depressed moaning? Is it the stress of an overfull calendar? Subconscious self-focus? Remembered slights? Unlike the squirrel who runs off, my calendar can’t be ignored, but I can do something about other worship interruptions. I can with intention fix my eyes on Jesus. I can lay my hurt feelings at the cross, blessing those who have annoyed or infringed on my rights.
Sometimes the “squirrels” of life don’t run off.
People still make hurtful comments. Illness continues to sap strength. Relationships cannot be mended. Then, just like the birds, I must fly away into those quiet places with God. According to the old Negro spiritual, “Some bright morning when this life is o’er, I’ll fly away, and while that is truth, I can “fly away” in the midst of life’s ever present squirrels by simply sitting quietly with God, asking Him to refresh and renew my song. No more squawking!
Lord, remind me when my singing is off key because my heart isn’t tuned to you. Renew that right spirit within me so my songs honor you.
By Marilyn Ehle
Used by Permission
• Peace of Mind and Heart – by Danie Forster
• Peace of Mind – by Helen Lescheid