“He will cover you with His feathers; you will take refuge under His wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield.” (Psalm 91:4 HCSB)
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4 NIV)
They were busy. The pair were fluttering in and out of the evergreen bush just outside our front door. More twigs, more grasses, and more mud were needed to line the nest, molded by the female to the shape of her breast. Soon the mourning dove couple had completed their nest and were ready for their first clutch of eggs for the season.
“Wooo-oo-ooo-oo-oo-oo,” they cried their haunting, sad song over and over evoking the feeling of grief for which they were named. This spring as I have heard them, I am reminded of the sense of national and worldwide grief, sorrow, and lament over the coronavirus and the multiple lives it has disrupted and taken. Repetitively, my heart joined in with the doves’ soulful sounds. “Oh, God, oh, God, oh God!” my spirit moaned searching for words but coming up empty.
Shortly, two white eggs appeared in the doves’ nest. Momma bird didn’t leave the nest often but brooded softly and silently, her tiny, black eyes watching me as I walked past the bush on my daily rendezvous with the mailbox.
One day during my dove observations, I became aware that the Holy Spirit is our national Mourning Dove brooding over us in expectation of birthing something new. Just as the momma bird cannot force the eggs to hatch but can only patiently wait, so we, too, cannot hasten this season too quickly. We must wait, under the wings of the emblematic Mourning Dove, for the full work of incubation to take place.
My prayers matched this awareness as I prayed for a spirit of godly sorrow and repentance to come to our nation. Repentance for how we have forsaken God, gone our own way, and lived independently of Him. I was reminded of this Scripture from Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, “For My people have committed a double evil: They have abandoned Me, the fountain of living water, and dug cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that cannot hold water.” (Jeremiah 2:12 HCSB)
Day after day, I became increasingly aware how God was faithfully covering our nation under His wings. He had not abandoned us but was carefully brooding over us in this season of abrupt cessation of activity and “sheltering in place.” Will our eyes open? Will there be a new birth from this time? Will there be a Third Great Awakening for our nation?
Key Thought: As we grieve our losses, may we stay under the wings of the Holy Spirit, our Mourning Dove, as we turn our lament into trust and our waywardness into surrender.
~ Janet Mueller
Photo collage by Janet Mueller