Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Always’

Yellow-Billed Stork

ThreeYellowBilledStorksThis morning, I woke up and prayed for my day. I was reminded, as I read a devotional by Sarah Young in Jesus Always, that I have a tendency to rush into my day with a strong desire to tidy up all the small details that seem to desperately need attending to — only, maybe, they don’t. I was reminded that sometimes I trust God when “big things” are on the horizon, but with the small things, I tend to rely on myself. Why not stop? Why not rely on God in everything, for everything?

I went for my morning walk in a state of happiness. I looked around at how beautiful everything, everywhere, is — with a deep inner awareness that God, the Creator, has made it all. It makes me feel so thankful! Words began to come to me for a new poem, for a new collection of poems:  a collection of psalms. I was filled with a sense of awe and amazement that I was getting a new idea, a heavenly inspiration, right there and then!

Part of it, I know, is a great working together of many things:  later today, I will be teaching about the book of Psalms in my Old Testament class at Epic Bible College and Graduate School. I taught a series of classes on the Psalms at my church, and before that, I taught an online course on the Psalms for a university in Colorado. The work of Hassell Bullock, my Hebrew teacher at Wheaton College, in his book, Encountering the Psalms, has opened my understanding of the Psalms. I’ve read the Psalms almost everyday of my life, and the Spirit of the Living God has opened my heart to himself through the words of ancient Israelite singers. I love the Psalms. The word “psalm” was the first word my father tried to teach me when I was a baby.


My Yellow-Billed Stork, reflected in the Nile, Uganda (September 2013)

When I came home from my walk, I wrote four psalms for a new poetry collection! I did it with a wonderful sense of inspiration and excitement, thinking of the main poetic devices used in the Hebrew Psalms:  not rhyme and meter, so frequently used in English poetry, but repetition and parallelism. The third psalm I wrote was about God’s creatures that I had seen in Uganda when I traveled through the savanna and up the Nile River to see Murchison Falls:  the goal of a brief pilgrimage.

As I was writing, I was trying to remember what I had seen. Some animals I remembered vividly, but I knew there was more than I could recall. So I went back to my digital photographs, and as I was looking through them, I saw one in which a bird was standing by the side of the water. I thought to myself:  that looks like a stork. The picture was blurry. I enlarged the image of the bird. I was sure it was a stork. Its markings were distinct. How had I not identified this bird in this photo before now?

I did a Google search on African birds, and I discovered this one’s name:  Mycteria ibis, the Yellow-Billed Stork! I was delighted. I added it to my life-list. It’s hard to believe that I saw a bird of such distinct splendor, and only identified it from my own photo three years later!!


Now I See a Yellow-Billed Stork

Lord, I see an elephant with long tusks
alone on the savanna –

I see giraffes with long necks
striding together in the morning.

I see hippos in the Nile
and a kingfisher flying in midair –

I see a mother monkey
who carries her baby on her back.

I see a water buffalo,
and he sees me!

I see a wild warthog
trotting away through the trees.

Now I see a yellow-billed stork
standing in the river-shallows.

O Lord, how marvelous is every creature
You have made!


p.s. Maybe I will call this new collection something like
Psalms for the God of Birds.