They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
If you were my neighbor last fall, it’s a pretty safe bet that you would have seen me standing and staring up into the sky. Every fall when I hear a certain distant bugling, you can catch me watching for the sandhill cranes as they fly overhead on their migration south. There is nothing that compares with the sight of those tiny dots flying so high that they are barely visible, and yet bugling their calls so vividly that I can feel the echo down deep in my chest.
Have you caught a glimpse of beauty flying by?
Is something stirred in your heart when you look up?
This spring morning caught me looking up also. The Easter weekend was only a few days past, so my thoughts had been dwelling with those disciples who had watched as their Risen Lord left them once again, ascending into the Heavens.
And just like that, the familiar bugling of my shorebird friends sounded through the morning air. Flying so low with their huge wings swooping in and out, the cranes were returning, back from their springtime migration.
What strange mystery lets them know it’s time to return? Is it the angle of the sun? Is it the warming days? Is it the magnetic pull of the poles? Scientists have their theories, but I think I know WHO awakens the stirring in their breasts, because I have felt a similar stirring in my own heart.
When the angels appeared to Jesus’ disciples, they asked the men what I have often thought was a strange question:
“Why do you stand here looking into the sky?”
Their Lord had just left them, after all! Into the sky He had vanished! But the angels’ next words stir something even deeper in my heart:
“This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
For you see, I believe those disciples were looking into the sky, and longing for what “might have been,” as they missed their friend and Rabbi. Those days of walking with Him beside the sea, and listening to His teaching, watching Him heal the sick and raise the dead, had been like no others in their lifetimes. But the “might have been” could not compare with the true reality that was coming their way.
Oh, I know that feeling.
Wishing and longing for the old days
and the old way of doing things.
Can’t I just have one more glimpse, Lord?
But the days of this present
and the days of our future
are more wondrous
than anything the past
could show us.
Those angels did not know the days or the times when Jesus would return for His people. Jesus Himself had told them that only the Father holds those times in His hands:
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
So where does the calendar for the crane
and the heron, the oriole
and even the little hummingbird reside?
Their Father, who created them all,
holds the number of their days in His hands.
And Our Father,
who breathed us all into Life,
knows the number of our days as well.
He knows the New Lessons
and the New Kinship
that I will learn
He knows the pathway
where only Stillness
would help me hear
And one of these days, it won’t be
the Bugle of the Cranes that I hear.
No, my heart will leap
when the Trumpet of my Lord
He’s coming back and He won’t delay.
When the Father opens the way
“this same Jesus will return for His Bride”
If you have an interest in learning more about Sandhill Cranes, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is an excellent resource here.
I am linking this week with:
13 thoughts on “Look Up!”
I love you are captivated by birds. Any of God's creation is fascinating to me. I love how intricately he made every little thing. I also believe that the disciples were anxiously waiting for Jesus' return and stood captivated by what was to come. Thank you for sharing this beauty with us.
How nice to know another kindred heart for God's creatures, especially birds! And yes, what an incredible moment that must have been for the disciples, so captivating as they waited for His return! Thank you for sharing your sweet words here! Blessings to you!
Bettie G – As I was reading your post, I am left pondering how often am I left staring into the sky longing for the way things used to be, instead of looking around for how He is moving in the hear and now. I think sometimes I can dwell too much in the past longing for what might have been too, just like the disciples.
Thank you for linking up with #TuneInThursday today! I am so blessed to have you linking your posts as part of the community each Thursday
Yes, doesn't it sometimes feel like it would just be easier to go back to the way things always were? But then we miss how He IS moving in the here and now. I am so grateful that He never stops loving us and moving us forward! And Congratulations on your upcoming book, and the forward movement that He is bringing to you there! Thanks for offering such a great community to link together. Blessings to you!
What a wonderful post today; full of hope and joy. Thank you. I am glad I read this.
God bless you always.
Dear Bettie, I smiled at the thought of being your neighbour and sharing sky gazing together. I often wonder what our neighbours might think of me as I lift my gaze skywards, mesmerised by a flock of seagulls, or snapping away at the sight of a magpie or pigeon pair! My camera/phone is also frequently aimed toward the ground, seeking to appreciate the beauty before me in every living thing. If we were neighbours, we could exchange secret smiles, laugh together over the antics of airborne creatures and sigh with satisfaction at the sights greeting our eyes.
And what a Day it will be when the trumpets sound and our gaze will be transfixed on our Lord's Second Coming! Will we keep looking up or bow down? Will our eyes be blinded with happy tears? Will we laugh with exhilaration and joy? I don't know the answer to those questions but I do know we need to be ready and watchful, expectant and hopeful as we live out our earthbound lives in the here and now. Thank you, sweet friend, for steering our thoughts in this glorious direction! Blessings and love to you. xoxo
Thank you Victor! I am glad that you found a bit of hope and joy here today. What a beautiful Lord we serve who keeps us looking up to Him! Blessings to you!
Oh what a gift if we could be neighbors! Those glimpses of beauty that each of us see could be shared two-fold! Sigh. . . maybe in Heaven? I am just so thankful that we have been given the opportunity to share as blog-neighbors over these interwaves, as we wait for that day when He joins us all to Himself! What a wonder that will be, won't it? All of the what-ifs won't matter anymore, and our weariness will be washed away in an instant! All because of our great Father's Love, who gave us His Son. Thank you for your beautiful comments and thoughts my friend! I pray that you are finding blessings all around you today! Love and Hugs! xoxo
I love this! I see what you mean about God confirming words as we both wrote on a similar theme. It will be wonderful when He does come back. I love looking up into the sky. Sometimes I see a bird flying so high it's like a dot. And there's always the changing patterns of the clouds. So much beauty! So glad I visited your blog tonight. Sure wish you and Joy and I could be neighbors. Wouldn't that just be so special?!
Blessings and hugs, dear sister/poet/friend! xoxo
Oh what fun the three of us would have if we were neighbors gazing up into the sky together! But like I told Joy, I am just so thankful that God made a way for us to be blog-neighbors! There is such a sweetness as we each share the beauty that we've seen in our own spaces–I feel like it increases the wonder when we can share it. And when He does return for us, we will have even more joy to share! I hope that you have a Blessed Sunday, my dear sister/poet/friend! xoxo
This is so true – ” There is such a sweetness as we each share the beauty that we've seen in our own spaces–I feel like it increases the wonder when we can share it.” I love it!
Love this. The retirement village in FL where my one and only sister lives is home to hundreds of Sandhill Cranes – they are raising babies right now. Oh they are adorable. LOVE this post, BettieG.
Oh what a sight that must be–hundreds of cranes raising their babies! My younger son & his family are moving to Florida in a few weeks. Maybe they will get to see some of those amazing sights!