Sometimes life gets in the way. I’m writing on the night that I should have been settling into my campsite somewhere in Yellowstone National Park. I have been there four times, and yet the thought of a fifth trip seemed only natural. There’s a majesty about that place that draws me in and keeps me coming back. So why am I in Minneapolis, sitting in my stifling apartment? Because life got in the way and my trip has been postponed, possibly cancelled.
That’s been a hard pill to swallow. However, in light of the circumstances, I’m not at a place where I could have made that trip. Part of it includes my physical health. Another piece includes my emotional health. In light of these events, I have found myself wrestling with Psalm 139. It’s a powerful passage that displays how intimately God knows and loves us. This hits at the core desire of every human – to be known and loved unconditionally for who we are. That’s the love that God has for us. Love that doesn’t require us to get cleaned up before coming to him. Love that died for us while we were still in the midst of all of our sin and shame. I don’t think that I’m alone when I say at times it is hard to believe this. At times it is hard to accept this and live out of this truth. This is one of those times in my life. However, I am trying to trust God. I am trying to trust that he is in control, trust in His love for me, and trust that if my trip is cancelled, something better is waiting for me.
So what does this have to do with wildlife? Consider the sparrow. The small, common, sometimes annoying sparrow. I have never intentionally set out to photograph sparrows. Even if I see one when I’m in the field, I rarely give it a thought. Matthew 10:29, 31 says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” When you read this passage alongside of Psalm 139, a clear picture is painted of the God of the universe. There are countless passages that state how much he loves us and what he has done to demonstrate that love. But right now I’m going to stick with these two passages, for they give insight into the depth of knowledge God has about each one of his children. If he is aware of the comings and goings of sparrows, how much more aware is he of our comings and goings? To make it personal, God is intimately aware of what I am going through right now. He knows exactly what I’m thinking and feeling and he knows how frustrated I am with how the past week has panned out. And he cares. He cares deeply. As a matter of fact, he cares so much for me that he prevented me from camping in Yellowstone tonight. For whatever reason, I am here and if I believe these passages of Scripture, then the only logical conclusion is that I serve a God that is so involved in my life and cares so deeply for me that he will not abandon me even in my darkest times. On top of that, I believe that this is where he wants me and by being here I will be blessed. I don’t know what that will look like, and it may take time for me to see it as a blessing. And I might never know the reason that God said no to my initial plans for this summer. But, because of Psalm 139 and Matthew 10, I know that it was for my benefit and his glory that I am here, sitting in my apartment in Minneapolis. For anyone going through a difficult time, whether it is big or small, there is but one thing to do: consider the sparrow.