Songs in the NIght
The last couple of nights I have awakened around 1:30 AM. Not what I like to do and not sure why it is happening. But last night when I woke up I heard birds singing! It was a pretty, happy sound – but at 1:30!?
Birds usually sleep at night – I thought! But this is mating season and perhaps they are getting carried away in my neighborhood! Anyway, I thought it was unusual. Now I know that birds sing, not because they are happy but they are marking their territory.They aren’t really singing! They are saying, “This is my place, stay away”! This being mating season, perhaps this bird felt an all night territorial claim had to be staked so none would encroach on his territory.
Anyway, this morning I checked the Web as to why a bird sings at night. Apparently, my little nocturnal friend is a mockingbird! And a biologist by the name of William Jordan studied this curious phenomenon – the LA Times posted it. Apparently, like I previously assumed, the Mockingbird was/is defending his territory. Nothing romantic or sweet or poetic about it. It’s like he put on all his army fatigues and went to issue a challenge to would-be rivals! It is his battle cry.
Sorry to burst your bubble about the melodies of birds.
However, it caused me to think about King David when he said in Psalm 42:8, “The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; And His song will be with me in the night, A prayer to the God of my life.” Somehow there is a parallel of song in the night to lovingkindness in the daytime.
In this Psalm David is struggling. He is asking questions of God like: “When shall I appear before God?” or, some versions say, “when shall I see the face of God”. He asks, “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me?” And “Why hast Thou forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? ” David is not in a good place.
But even there he places his hope in God. He tells himself, “Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him.” David is anticipating praise and worship. For now he grounds himself in the fact that God will command, not suggest, not hint, not whisper but command, His lovingkindness in the daytime; and His song will be with him in the night.
I am sure you have experienced, as I have, that in the nighttime, in the dark, worries tend to grow – way out of proportion. They become much worse. Maybe for that mockingbird at night he imagined all sorts of competition for his territory perhaps he felt he was in danger and had to protect his space for his family. (He didn’t realize that most birds were asleep!)
Anyway, back to David…he is going to praise God for “the help of His presence.” Scripture tells us time and again that God is with us – we are never alone. He is a “very present help in trouble” – David had learned that by experience. I certainly know that for myself though I am quick to forget it when I am hurting or anxious or afraid or discouraged or in the dark.
I want to be like David – anticipate praise and worship and stake my trust on the very present, loving, kind nature of God. Then perhaps like a mockingbird I, too, can sing at night!