A few days ago, I looked up to notice there were about 4 or 5 blackbirds sitting all around one of the bird feeders outside my home office window. There were no other birds present, which was rare, just the blackbirds. Their presence was very different than when the cardinals, for example, come to visit. They almost seemed to overwhelm and intimidate the space. As I watched them, I heard this phrase pop into my heart, “Drive away the birds of prey.”
I realize blackbirds are not actual birds of prey, but their presence was much different than the presence of our cardinals, for example. The blackbirds were overbearing, unfriendly (if I could say it that way) and, well, just unpleasant. As I kept pondering that phrase, I pictured Abraham, in Genesis 15, “The birds of prey swooped down…but Abram drove them away.” Notice, this was before Abram became Abraham.
As I kept leaning into this phrase, I got the sense that here, now, during this season of great sacrifice for many of us, God, (our sower) is sowing seeds that are meant to produce a harvest in the next season of our lives. Seasons don’t typically last that long. We rotate through four in just one year. The cycle of seed-time and harvest moves quickly, actually.
But I got the sense that as these seeds that are being sown, many are missing it. They do not recognize the potential of the seeds because they don’t look like the fruit they are meant to produce…yet, because, they are in seed form. And whatever we don’t understand or discern is at risk of being stolen.
“…And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them….When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.” Matthew 13:4, 19 NKJV
At the same time, I got this overwhelming sense of exhaustion. I understand. This year, specifically, we’ve all had major energy shifts and greater demands have been placed on our time, attention and resources. I sensed that many of these hearts I am speaking to are feeling dry and parched because of sheer fatigue. We may even see “the birds” circling around us, but it seems like too much energy to rise up and shoo them away.
I want to encourage you, with the little strength you have, rise up. Protect and guard the seeds that are being sown right now. Don’t just focus on what is going out, what you’re having to give, where you’re having to invest a different part of yourself. There are seeds being sown over you right now. But you must drive away the birds of prey and not allow what you don’t yet understand be stolen from you.
Lastly, tend to the soil of your heart. Allow and ask the Presence of God to refresh you and to soften you, that these seeds may take deep root and produce the harvest they are meant to produce.
Drive away the birds of prey. Over your life, over your family, over your work, over your finances, over your dreams. This is only a season and God is faithful.
Linda G. Riddle