By Steve Nelson…The relationship started out pleasantly. They were a young couple looking to start their life together and were setting up their new home next to ours. Nothing fancy, but important, nonetheless. They were expecting triplets. Day after day, we ran into them as they were making their house a home. We tried to show support and encouragement as they were preparing for their big day. Finally, after much anticipation, it arrived. It wasn’t long before we were given the opportunity to see the newest additions to the family.
We happened to stop by one day unannounced and it was then we had our first glimpse of these precious little ones. I attached my iPhone to a selfie-stick and slowly raised it to the level of their bed. I took several pictures of them and checked to see how they turned out. All three were lying comfortably side-by-side in their nest. Yes, they are barn swallows and their parents had made their home in our horse’s stall.
It wasn’t long before our friendship began to change. Our once-cordial neighbors began to become quite hostile as the day for their younglings’ first flight approached. Morning, noon, and evening, they were insistent upon keeping us away from the nest. Unfortunately, they chose to build their home in a location that was right next to the horse’s water trough—something that required refilling every day. At first, they screeched. That did not work. Next, they became more aggressive and dive-bombed us. The more we protested, the bolder they got. Nothing we could do would convince them we were not their enemies. They only had one goal. From the moment we stepped outside our door, they acted like kamikaze pilots swooping directly toward us—often flying just inches from our faces.
Then, the final attack came. My wife, Samantha, was on the back porch when, out of the blue, she was assailed. Stepping quickly backward to avert the crazy bird’s attack, she nearly fell off the deck. While not fatal, the potential outcome was serious. It was time for action. About a week went by, and the little ones had learned to fly. That was the day they got their eviction notice. Their home was officially relocated outside the horse’s stall.
While most of us face far more challenging issues, it is often the little things that constantly aggravate and try our patience. How is it for you? Are you facing something that needs changing in your life? Are you afraid or uncertain what that change may bring? Does fear keep you from doing the right thing? God promises to help you. Even if what you’re facing has you paralyzed with worry and fear, He says, “Fear not, for I am with you,” (Isaiah 41:10). During our time with the swallow family, I asked God to give these creatures wisdom to know we would not hurt them. Perhaps He chose to use this situation to give me wisdom instead.
––Steve Nelson is pastor in a Wyoming district including Worland, Cody, Powell and Ten Sheep congregations.