When he got home he muttered something about "those pesky wrens" and pulled a nest out of the grillwork on the front of the truck. It was well past nesting season, even for birds that do so more than once, so he assumed the nest was empty. As he pulled it out and tossed it, two small wrens fluttered to the grass, then half hopped, half flew to the nearest thing off the ground, the big shop fan on the carport. Almost immediately the mother wren found her babies and shepherded them to the azaleas. For a day or two we watched as they learned of necessity to fly a little sooner than they had planned, and called Chloe off of them more than once.
Wrens are known for building nests practically anywhere. This one may have learned a lesson. In fact, we wondered between us what must have happened as Keith left the dump and headed down that rural highway, gradually picking up speed. Somehow I can see two little heads peering over the edge of the nest, looking down the road as the wind tore at their feathers, glancing at one another with eyes wide and mouths agape.
"What's going on, Ethel?"
"I don't know Lucy, but hang on!"
The sad part is that most Carolina wrens lay four to six eggs. Even supposing that some of the others had already flown the nest, it's quite possible that a one or two were actually blown away in that wild ride.
Life can be a pretty wild ride, too. It's that way because we messed it up several thousand years ago. God told Adam and Eve they would face hard work, and lots of sweat, pain, and anguish because of their error. We face the same things, and our part in sin makes it only just.
You lift me up on the wind; you make me ride on it, and you toss me about in the roar of the storm. (Job 30:22)
Sometimes the winds of trial blow so hard we have to hang on by our toenails. Some don't make it down the highway as far as others, being blown aside by disease or accident or simple wear and tear on a fragile, physical body. And all of that is a blessing, really, even if we do have a hard time seeing it that way. When God kicked the first couple out of Eden, their access to the Tree of Life ended. But who would want to live forever in a sin-cursed world when we can move on to something so much better?
I think we often get too involved in trying to find a reason when the ride gets rough. It seems to be the only way we can handle a misfortune. But sometimes it is not about a bad decision we made. Sometimes it's because someone else decided to go warm up the tires and exercise the engine and we just happened to get caught in the grillwork. Time and chance happen to all, the Preacher tells us and that may just be the only "why" there is. Make the most of it. The other day Keith came across those two little wrens, hopping, flitting, and flapping in the dust of the dirt floor equipment shed. They had survived their ordeal and gotten on with life.
When you reach my age, you find yourself looking back on that daredevil ride you have taken. You hope you can take a little solace in how you faced it—resolutely, courageously, determined to see it through without whining or complaining too much, without being too embarrassed to look in the mirror and see what you were made of. Even when the ride is over, the Devil may yet come along and yank you out of the last comfortable place you call home and then what?
Then you live on the thing that God's people have always survived on—hope. We seem so busy trying to make this life the reward—when it isn't and never has been for any but the unbeliever—that we seldom talk about hope any longer. When did you last hear a lesson on Heaven? Not on what happens after death, something no one can say with any assurance at all anyway, but on what happens when the Lord comes again—the reward for our faithfulness despite the difficulties of this life, despite the roaring winds, the monster of a revving engine trying to gobble us up, the potholes and the bumps in the road. That reward should be our focus, not this wild ride of a life. Someday very soon, it won't matter at all.
"Hang on Ethel!" Making it through the ride is worth it.
When the tempest passes, the wicked is no more, but the righteous is established forever. (Prov 10:25)