James 1: 2-3

 2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.

2 Corinthians 4: 16-18

 16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 

 Have you ever watched a goldfinch fly? 

Not just fly by your immediate range of sight, but rather watch it in flight.  I had the opportunity to enjoy goldfinch watching this summer and I am delighted at the joy those little yellow birds shared with me.

The goldfinch flies in a pattern much like a scalloped edge on some fabric finishes.  It will flap its wings and fly up, up, up.  When it reaches a high point, it will stop flapping and swoop down for a small time until it reaches the bottom of the scallop.  Then, it starts flapping again.  And so the swooping continues. 

Over and over again, the goldfinch appears to be dancing a delightful dance which in many ways replicates the way our lives flow – up and down, up and down.  After a struggle up hill (with lots of work and energy) we often enjoy the ‘swoop’ on the downside of those climbs.  Riding the ride and swooping with joy at the relief of an opportunity to catch our breath. 

Then, after enjoying the ride of the swoop, life happens again.  We find ourselves facing the fact that if we don’t start working again we will crash.  So, it becomes important to start flapping again.  We encounter a new uphill struggle and start our climb once again.  Up and down, over and over again is this journey of living our lives.

But, here is where we could really embrace a life lesson from our neighbor, the goldfinch.  Every time the goldfinch starts flapping, it does so in song.  As it flaps its wings, it sings.  (I promise it does!  I watched them all summer!)  It swoops and then starts singing and flapping…over and over again.  Swoop…sing and flap…swoop…sing and flap – up and down – time and time again.

I wonder…is the goldfinch pleading for inner strength as it works at flying on the up side of that swoop, or is it praising God for having the opportunity to once again work for the upcoming swoop?  Maybe it is a little bit of both!

When you experience your next up hill life struggle, remember the goldfinch in flight.  When we have faith and love in our Savior, he promises his faithfulness as we climb the struggles we face.  He will help provide strength if we feel ours is depleted – we just need to ask and praise him for the challenge.  In Christ is the promise and hope of a great, fun and wonderful upcoming swoop!