“Did more birds move in while we were gone last week?”
“You hear it too?” I responded to my husband, incredulously.
As I’d watered the flower boxes on the balcony earlier, I was struck by the volume of the birdsong. It wasn’t just a few notes barely audible out one window, it was a chorus of voices heard clearly from the front and back of our townhouse.
Neither of us could recall such noticeable avian music around our neighborhood. This probably wouldn’t have garnered even a fleeting thought had we not just returned from Hawaii.
At home, when I open my window, street sounds—traffic on the freeway, vehicular demonstrations of masculinity, and train whistles—tend to orchestrate the background music. But in Kona, the predominant sounds were crashing waves and birds. So many birds. In fact, I initially thought it was a phone alarm called Birdsong. Then, one day, I opened the door and realized the birdsong was, in fact, actual birdsong. And then I noticed it everywhere.
We Notice What We Ponder
Now, I’ve been a Christ-follower for more than a quarter-century. As I increase in faith and years, I’m also growing in desire to ponder and learn from God’s Word. The more time I spend doing so, the more I notice real-life applications all around me. For instance, I was pondering Jesus’ instructions on caregiving in Matthew 25 when I gained new insight on how to help a hurting loved one.
Of course this isn’t accidental. Scripture tells us to spend as much time as we can with God’s Word (Deut. 6:6-7) to unleash its power in our lives (Heb. 4:12).
Two Volume Controls
Returning to the birds… some research told me they hadn’t moved to my neighborhood that weekend. They’d always been there, but I was more tuned into the traffic. Sadly, I suspect the volume of the birdsong will fade with the trip memories.
Does it have to? Could I intentionally prioritize the volume of the birdsong over the traffic?
God’s Word has a similar volume control. When I’m immersed in it, it’s as if I’ve turned up the dial to increase the likelihood I’ll pay attention—more so than the “traffic” of my life.
Did I mention I researched birds?1 😉 I was struck by the purpose of birdsong. Check this out:
“Knowing that birds stop singing as potential predators approach is a little bit of a superpower: Pay attention and you’ll be able to hear the arrival of a person, or another animal, in the silence of the birds. And, if you listen long enough, you’ll start noticing different kinds of bird calls: Not just the territorial songs, but short chirps of alarm before the singing stops, and little call-and-response trills between companions. Birds are just always telling secrets about the world around you. All you need to decode them are your ears.”2
After I read this, I listened through a window on the back of my house. It didn’t take long before the birds stopped singing… just as a neighbor’s dog ran into the street below the window.
I smiled and thought about all of the ways God’s Word has made me aware of potential predators, and how, if I listen long enough, I’m better capable of discerning his voice. So, I rewrote the final portion of that paragraph to keep as a reminder when the memories fade and I’m tempted to focus on the traffic around me:
God’s Word is always telling secrets about the world around you.
All you need to decode them are your ears.
(Romans 10:17; Mark 4:23; John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16; Proverbs 30:5; Psalm 119:11)
1 Check out this fun website where you can get help identifying birds by what they look like or sound like: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news/