The meadowlark has long been my favorite songbird. I love its song because it evokes so many summer days out in the fields and streams of the West. Its song means summer, hay meadows, long lazy days, fly-fishing. More than anything else, it has become for me a symbol of hope. The meadowlark returns to Colorado in the early spring, and as I’ve mentioned, that typically means it arrives about the same time our major snowstorms hit. What courage; if it were me, I’d wait until June when the weather warms up. But they come in spite of the snow, and take their place on fence posts and the tops of small trees, and begin singing. Hearing a midsummer song almost seems out of place when the flurries are whipping about your face. But that is exactly when we need it.

I heard two meadowlarks again this spring, calling and responding to each other on a cold and windy day. God began to speak through them. I heard him urging me to keep my own summer song, even though life’s winter tries to throw into my spring cold wind and snow. Do not throw away your confidence, he said. Do not budge from your perch, but sing your song, summer confident, sure of my great goodness toward you. You did not bring this spring, dear child; you do not have to arrange for the summer to follow. They come from thy Father’s will, and they will come.

Brent was buried on a Thursday afternoon. As we gathered by the graveside, Craig read these words: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25–26). He closed his Bible and we all stood in silence, not really knowing what to say or do; no one wanted to leave; no one really wanted to stay. It seemed so final. At that moment, a meadowlark sang.

This is my song in return.

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