Over the last few months of shutdown, my daughter and I have started an unintentional but special tradition.
Every night, we reach a point where we just need to get out. Since things are closed, we’ve been taking a lot of long drives.
There is something magical about being in the car with a teenager. Suddenly, they talk. And not just about the little things, they go deep. I learn what she’s thinking, I learn how she feels. I get to answer questions and share my thoughts back. And on the rare drives where I have BOTH of my teenaged girls in the car, the things I learn are even more precious.
Last night, we were talking about the times we are living in. The uncertainty, the weirdness. But we also talked a bit about the season. I’m not talking about spring, but I’m talking about a much bigger and much more exciting season…
Watching for the pelicans
I’ve lived on the shores of Lake Michigan for my whole life. But it wasn’t until about 6 or 7 years ago that I’ve ever seen a pelican on our beaches.
Pelicans are such a weird bird, but there is something that I find so beautiful about them! I don’t know if it’s their huge size, their weird beak or their graceful flight. There is just something I love about watching them.
The very first year they landed on our beaches, people would (pardon the pun!) flock to see them. Streets up and down would be parked full of cars while people ran out to the shoreline with cameras and binoculars to watch the pelicans.
The next year, they came back. Right around Memorial day, then leaving mid-summer. Predictably, the next may, they came back again. Now each year around this time, I anxiously watch the lake in hopes of seeing the first pelican of the year. A sure sign of spring. A visible reminder that summer is indeed on its way!
A sure sign of His return
As my daughter and I talked last night, I shared with her how the weirdness of this season is actually quite exciting. God tells us in His Word that…
“When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:28
The these things He is talking about is a whoooooole seperate subject to talk about (but fascinating, so if you haven’t studied it, DO IT!)
But the pelicans reminded me of a really exciting aspect of our lives as Christians: Jesus Christ came to earth, and He will come again.
While we were driving and talking last night, we made our usual drive along the lakefront. As we rounded the curve, I started slapping her arm and yelling “Audrey! Audrey!! Look!! It’s a pelican!”
She rolled her eyes and said “Yeah right” with a sigh, since I’ve been having fasle sightings almost every day.
But this time, I was right. It was just after sunset, almost too dark to see, but there they were…two beautiful white birds with their signature black-tipped wingspan and hideous beaks hovering right over the water. And right as I stopped the car, they landed for me to admire them.
As I took this blurry, far away picture, I was reminded of God’s promise:
If I can wait and watch with hopeful anticipation of the pelicans returning every spring, I can be even more excited and wait with even MORE anticipation of Christs return!
“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates.”
The pelicans are my fig tree. When I see them, I remember how faithful God is. Every season reminds us that we are even closer to seeing Him again. We don’t know if we’ll be here to witness Him coming on the clouds, or if we’ll meet Him in Heaven, but one thing is sure: He made a promise, and He always keeps His promise. We don’t need to fear, we don’t need to worry. Just as I look forward to those pelicans returning, I can look forward to seeing all that God has promised come to fruition.
So as we navigate this sometimes scary and uncertain season, let’s pause to remember the REAL season we are in. In Spring, we look forward to summer. We don’t fear it, we get excited! Since Christ left the Earth two thousand years ago, we’ve been in a Spring of sorts. Let’s not fear the coming summer. Let’s get excited and know that what He has promised is good. Letting go of the fear and anxiety will take away the power from the uncertainty of this season.
So when fear and anxiousness start to creep in, think of the pelicans. If they are faithful to show up to bring me just a little joy every year, how much more faithful will God be to bring the unending joy He has promised?!?!?