God Speaking Through a Sparrow

little sparrow in a fence.

I’ve been noticing for a few months how, I’ve honestly felt like, God was using animals to show His love towards me.  Squirrels seeming like they are staring at me, peering into my heart.  Birds hopping all around me while I sit on a park bench; catching myself throwing them a few scraps of food as they come unusually close.  Even dogs, when I need it most, coming up to me and becoming my best friend.

little sparrow in a fence.About a week ago, I was sitting on a park bench waiting on a taxi to take me to the next town on the Camino de Santiago.

A sparrow landed directly in front of me. He kept his distance at first and then began to move closer.  I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the little guy.

I felt like he wanted to jump into my hand, so I held it out as an offer.  He came extremely close, while all the other birds were eating in another part of the street.  He actually hopped until he was sitting next to me on the concrete bench outside the albergue.

This sparrow was by my side when I was alone.

I felt like it was God showing me that I wasn’t alone.

A couple of days ago, I was in a similar position.  Feeling extremely unloved, like I had lost track on how to love God or receive love from Him.  I don’t know where this feeling came from, but I was feeling overwhelmed by all of my feelings.  As I sat in a coffee shop, I told Sunoh I was just going to go down to the river and cry.  I just had to get it all out, whatever it was.  So I went down to the river and cried out to God.  Asking Him to teach me how to love.

To teach me that love is.

That He would teach me about unconditional love, that doesn’t require anything from us.  I feel as if I get caught up in what I should do instead of just. on. Him.

Speaking with my girlfriend, Emily, has really opened my eyes to how I truly don’t desire Jesus with all my being.

When David wrote Psalms, he talks about his heart and soul yearning for God.  How his body is renewed by God and he cannot go on without Him.  Emily has a better understanding of what it means to long for Jesus and I hear her speak of it often.  It opened my eyes to the fact that I do spend time with God but I hardly yearn for Him.

I felt as if that was the first time, on this rock by the river, that I was yearning for the Lord.
I sat there broken in His beautiful creation.

Sitting on the River in Portomarin - Camino de Santiago

Seth Barnes sent us these departing words today as he returned to America…

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG, emphasis mine)

As I reflect on them today, I find as if God has renewed my mind.  After reading that I did some listening prayer and asked, “God was that you two days ago?  Why did I feel so heavy?  Why did it feel so ill-fitting?”

He responded to me with this, “You missed the beginning of the verse.  I said, ‘Get away with me.  Come to me. I’ll show you how to rest.‘”

I had missed the first part of His promise, the requirements to receive the promise.  After I sat with Him, rested with Him in creation, I found myself feeling free.  Lighter.  I still have not been given a full vision or experienced what it means for my heart and soul to long for Him.  I still don’t fully know how to rest wholeheartedly in Him but He is slowly opening my eyes.

  • Helena Jordão

    “Squirrels seeming like they are staring at me, peering into my heart.” hahaha…. that sentence cracked me up, Hugh!

    In Hebrew, the word for ‘yearn’ means to fail with longing, to faint, to be consumed.
    I pray a holy longing over you, that your spirit grapples desperately with the Spirit with passion, knowing it would fail without Him.

    Job 19:27… love you, bro!
    Proud of you! And I’m gonna be at your house tomorrow haha 🙂 taking your stuff back, too! I didn’t forget!!

  • Alys Seay

    🙂 Thanks for letting us walk this journey with you. Praying for you Hugh… that Jesus would be felt as the deep longing of your heart and considered the most compelling person you’ve ever met.

    • Thanks Alys. I hope you time in Thailand was awesome, I’m sure it was.

  • seth_barnes

    It hasn’t been easy, but you’ve done so well on the Camino, Hugh. You exude grace and just need to appropriate more of it for yourself sometimes.

  • Jill Schulenberg

    Wow. This hits home with me right now, and exactly where I’ve been sitting and learning as well. Hugh, i don’t know exactly what God is preparing you for, but I know it is big. And I’m super stoked about that! 🙂 i see you hungry for more of Him and His kingdom and I know that desire will just keep growing as He takes you deeper and farther into Himself 🙂 Thanks for leading the way for so many of us through your humility and relentlessness and vulnerability.

  • donna boling

    I love this, it’s so true. We all need to have along time with Christ. Love you.

  • Ann

    GET IT BROTHER!!! He’s going to show you what LOVE is and that you already have it inside of you, you just need to let Him in! He’s got this. Flipping duh he speaks to you through animals, mother eagle anyone?? She sends her regards and blessings.

    • HA! Thanks Ann! What a great reminder… I miss the mother Eagle. She’s in good hands though.

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