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Seeds of the Kingdom

Near to God

by Malcolm Wood

Draw close to God and He will draw close to you.
James 4:8, NKJV

This summer we’re sharing our house with two families of swallows. We have two nests tucked under the eaves of the house, one at the front and one at the back. Every day the parent birds can be seen busily flying backwards and forwards with food to feed their youngsters, who can be heard crying out for their meal should it not arrive when expected.

We’ve been told that to have one nest of swallows would be rather special, but to have two is a real privilege. So I thought I’d do some research concerning our house guests.

I learnt that each year swallows travel thousands of miles from the southern hemisphere to Europe, (in our case northern Scotland) to build their homes and raise their young. Then they make the return journey to miss our colder weather. Apparently the same birds can do this for several consecutive years, often returning to the same location each time.

As we can imagine their journeys are fraught with potential dangers. There are storms, there are no resting places, and there’s a lack of food, so many don’t make it and are lost on the way. But whether they’re successful or not they all have that natural instinct to make the journey. That’s just the way they were created. They have that ability to persevere through all the challenges of the journey to reach their objective, and they eventually find a sheltered, protected spot where they can peacefully set up home and raise their family.

In Psalm 84 the psalmist refers to swallows building their nests and raising their young near the altar, in the dwelling place of the Almighty. I suspect they struggled to arrive there too but their desire and determination brought them through to that place of rest.

Isn’t that a lesson for us? How much do we long to be near God? How determined are we to be in His presence - to spend time with Him? Earlier in that Psalm the writer says ‘My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God’ (Psalm 84:2). Can you say that?

‘There is a place of quiet rest
Near to the Heart of God
A place where sin cannot molest
Near to the Heart of God’

Prayer: Dear Lord, please help me to have the determination that will enable me to push through all distractions and hindrances so I can spend more time to be with You . Amen.

Malcolm Wood and his wife Anna became part of the Ellel family as House Managers at Ellel Grange in 1990. Since then they have been involved with many aspects of the developing Ministry. From 2001 until 2015 they were Directors of Ellel Scotland where they hosted several International Schools and Operation Blairmore and helped pioneer the exciting Creative Inspiration Weeks. They have three sons.


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