Lessons from a Barn, Part 3

As I stood there with the sound of cracking wood and the barn colliding with the ground echoing around me, there was much to take in. The imminent collapse was now a reality. The building had been converted, in a matter of seconds, into a pile to rubble, followed by one or two brief creaks and shutters. Gravity, with a bit of help, as I mentioned in a previous blog, had finally won the battle with the weathered barn.

As we watched the fallen barn and the rising dust, the echoes of the crash and the whiz of camera shutters filled our ears and this question filled our minds — “Now what?”

The leaning barn was now a pile of aged lumber that could not be left unattended. Some of the pile could serve no further purpose—it could not be resurrected or reclaimed. However, barn boards and timbers are prized by crafters and craftsmen alike. So my son and I decided to mount the fallen giant and start stripping its outer shell.

Now what caught my attention as we climbed the ladder and scaled the fallen structure was one lone pigeon. I had seen her right after the collapse of the barn. She circled overhead through the dust and in and out of the trees which once had stood alongside the barn. Now several minutes later she was still circling the barn in spite of our presence. When I went outside the following morning, the same pigeon was in the trees and in the air circling over the fallen barn. As the day went on I found myself looking for her and it never took long to find her…she was always in the vicinity of the barn.

The reason the pigeon was there through the collapse of the barn and into the following days was that she had chosen the barn as her home. She had nested in the barn. She had young in the barn. She was searching for her nestlings.

I was reminded of Christ’s lament in Matthew 23:37.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.

Christ recognized their history and condition which they fully deserved and had brought upon themselves. In response, perhaps to our amazement, He reacted with compassion, something he repeatedly offered (“how often I wanted”) along with care (“the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings”). However, and this is truly amazing, that is not what caused Christ’s lament at this time. His lament was over their unwillingness to accept His compassion and care, or as the CEV puts it “But you wouldn’t let me.”

In a manner similar to the circling pigeon seeking her nestlings in the fallen barn, Christ offers compassion and care. Christ’s offer springs from His heart in response to our fully deserved condition. Christ’s offer is repeatedly given, circling us as the mother pigeon circled the fallen barn.

The question is whether or not this offer will result in lament or rejoicing. Will we accept it or are we so lost in our circumstance and routine that we don’t even recognize the offer?

About Charles McLain
I am Chair and Professor of Old Testament at Calvary Baptist Seminary in Lansdale, PA.

One Response to Lessons from a Barn, Part 3

  1. Jim E says:

    Ahh…no doubt, this is a “McLain Post”…I could “feel It”…even though I read your name before I read…Elisabeth Elliot uses the verse in your “part 2”..Deuteronomy 33:27 “and underneath are the everlasting arms.”…she always preceded it by quoting part of Jeremiah 31:3 “I have loved you with an everlasting love”…so it always came out “We are loved with an everlasting love, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”…I have that before me everyday…”just for good measure” that I don’t forget…

    And just this last week Judie, Jeremy and I, again experienced this mighty truth…Jeremy had a surprise surgery this last week on our trip to Mayo Clinic for his checkup…it was not good news about the removal of his tumor…but in all that happened…we were in the Lord’s hands…we were to see the doctor for the pathology report late in the day, then a long trip home to Arkansas…

    We left the motel early and were in the car…and a call came, “Can you come early?”…Oh, wonderful…we can start our long trip home early…”Can you be here by 10:00?”…Oh we sure could…but we had to find parking…drove to the ramp…the sign said, “Full”…it would take more time, we had only 15 minutes…as I stopped the car…in front of the sign, the “Full” blinked off…and we drove in…as we did, a car pulled out of the second spot…we pulled in…

    Already fulling aware that the Lord was being gracious to us with “the call”…the parking ramp light blinking off at our presence…the parking space right there…we were kind of floating across the street the the clinic…to the elevator…up to the 12th floor…we were there in 6 minutes…unbelievable???…not so…your post, part 3 says it…”Christ offers compassion and care.”…there is so much more to tell of His compassion and care that day and since…but just suffice it to say how much I loved this Barn Part 1,2,3…and I know even more that “We are loved with an everlasting love, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: