The first sign of fall was three leaves turning golden yellow on the big ash tree by the bird feeder. The days continue to be hot but the evenings and nights cool off, putting a snap in the Minnesota air. My neighbor stops by and during our conversation says, “The air feels like fall.”
Last Saturday after I had taken a tire to be fixed at Warren’s in Prinsburg, I decided to drive home cross country. I ended up coming east on County 64. Slightly east of Darren Bratsch’s about 160 barn swallows were gathered on power lines. I love barn swallows, the “fighter jets” of the bird world. They are efficient bug harvesters; each farm place seems to have about eight on an average year. I wondered, who told the swallows when to meet? Who told them where to meet? I mean, if my math is correct, 8 per farm, 160 swallows total, they gathered from twenty farms.
When swallows have their first of two groups of fledglings, they harvest bugs from before sunrise until after sunset to feed their young. When they have the second batch, the young swallows help feed the new batch making it easier on mom and dad. Swallows take time off after the second batch of fledglings is out of the nest. They hang around ponds, grass, and fields harvesting bugs strengthening themselves for migration.
Barn swallows are impressive travelers. A round trip for migration can cover 14,000 miles. Who told them when and where? When swallows migrate, they average 600 miles a day; roughly 12 days to cover the 7,000 mile migration. I’m impressed.
Swallows have been known to play with each other. People have observed a swallow picking up a piece of tin foil, flying in the air, dropping the foil and another picking it off in flight only to be dropped again and the process is repeated over and over again. (Personally, I believe this is “Top Gun” training for young “fighter jet” swallows.)
The Lord takes care of the birds. (Matt. 6:26-27: Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?) Something is telling them where to gather (Rev. 19:17: And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, "Come, gather together for the great supper of God,) and when to gather to head back to Argentina.
The Lord is so good, yet many times I do not recognize it. Last Saturday I was concerned about my Sunday sermon. As I worked, my thoughts were continually occupied with thoughts about this sermon. Sunday morning I awoke early and in my time of prayer, I asked for God’s guidance. I received no peace until I met with the elders of the church; they had no peace either concerning this service. Yet when we visited, the same issue was on all our hearts. My sermon addressed these issues. We prayed with tears of joy in our eyes.
What’s the message? On Saturday the Lord allowed me to notice the swallows on the power line by Darren’s and it should have reminded me not to worry because if the Lord takes care of the barn swallows, He will surely take care of me, one of His sons.
I should have known; oh what needless pain we bear!