I am increasingly keen on birds these days. I’m not sure what started it, but moving to our current house sixteen years ago was definitely key. That is because we have house martins and swifts nesting under and in our eaves. Plus some very cheerful sparrows who love to chatter away endlessly (maybe like some people you might know :-))
House martins and swifts are amazing birds. They nest here in the summer, raising their young. And then, in midsummer for swifts and September for house martins, they set off to spend the winter in Africa. But they don’t seem to go in groups like geese; they travel more or less solo both there and back, and yet manage to return to the same area of the UK every year. Swifts even manage to go there and back without ever setting down on the ground or on a tree for months at a time.
So around this time of year, I am watching out for their return, with the house martins the first to arrive back. There is some jeopardy because both species are in decline, and there are dangers on the way, but every year they do return. And it strikes me that I am watching with both preparation and expectation. And that these are two characteristics of how we wait for the Lord and for His coming Kingdom.
My preparation for the birds is in the form of putting up three house martin nests. I also have a swift box, and there’s one next door, but the swifts seem happy to leave them to the sparrows, and use holes in my eaves instead! And my expectation level (very high right now) means I am watching and waiting; checking reports of sightings on Facebook; and pondering patterns of wind and weather. I actually saw one early bird on April 4th, but the weather seems to be holding the majority back.
How are we preparing the way for the Lord? John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus, making a way in the wilderness, making rugged ground smooth, crooked paths straight. His mission, like ours, was to point to Jesus, to be a signpost, or we might say an advert. Whenever we live for the Lord, act for Him, speak for Him, we are helping make someone else’s path to God smoother. And many stories of revival have described how serious and faithful prayer prepared the way for what God was doing.
Let’s also challenge each other to higher expectation levels. We have a mighty God, there are no limits to what He can do. Surely in Britain at least it is way past time for a fresh Holy Spirit revival? Let’s keep crying out to Him to move in power once more, preparing the ground and expecting Him to do great things.