Last week, we had a particularly rainy day – not just spotty showers, but an all-day steady downpour and gray skies. I don’t mind the rain as long as I’m inside and not running errands – I’m a wimp and not a fan of wet clothes and driving in the rain.
On this particular day, however, the birds sang loudly as I listened from my comfy spot on the sofa that overlooks our backyard canopied by tall oaks and maples. I thought it was odd that the birds were so vocal in the rain, so I made a mental note of it.
Over the weekend, I did some research (aka a Google search of “birds singing in the rain”) to see if this was a regular occurrence or an odd phenomenon. The answer is both, from what I gathered during my non-dissertation-level research.
Here are a few facts I discovered:
- Low-flying birds can indicate rain is coming.
- Birds typically get quiet before a big storm.
- Bird activity after a storm appears to be common. The rain conjures up more worms and insects for birds to feast on, and they loudly gather up their family meals.
- Most small birds tend to stay still and quiet during the rain to conserve body heat.
- Birds singing during the rain indicates it’s about to end and fair weather is on its way.
- Robins and a few other species seem to love the rain as they forage for the easier-to-access insects. They gather and eat excitedly before seeking shelter.
While I’m no expert bird-watcher (in fact, I have a slightly unhealthy fear of birds), I know we have a lot of robins because I’ve seen them, which may explain the noisy Friday afternoon in our backyard.
As I reflected on these soaking, singing birds, I was thinking about my own life and how I respond when I get flooded with grief, deluged with suffering or inconvenienced by life’s storms. I think there are some valuable lessons we can learn from the birds.
Accepting the Storm
Last week was difficult for me. It was the anniversary of my mother’s death, I had a check up for a potential health concern and I battled anxiety over a myriad of overhyped-in-my-mind scenarios. My instinct was to distract and distance myself, to conserve my energy and to just wait it out.
But I remembered a podcast from Emily P. Freeman about naming the narrative (one of my all-time favorite episodes – listen or read here), and a recent conversation with a friend about the importance of naming things.
So I named my grief about my mother, and I wrote a post to process it and find gratitude for the legacy she left. I made phone calls to loved ones to talk about our memories of her.
I named my anxiety; instead of numbing it, I found comfort and courage in Scriptures the exact moment I needed it.
Like the birds, we all face environments and elements that we’d rather avoid. The storms may deplete our energy and drive us to seek shelter, but as a believer in Christ, we know these are temporary. Yes, the rainy days and seasons are very real, but so is our hope in a future without the pounding storms of life.
Singing in the Rain
Last week, my daily gratitude journaling was a bit spotty – full disclosure, two days out of seven. Oof. I’ve been trying to write down five daily graces from God (physical, spiritual or relational) in a deliberate practice to notice and name His glory in the everyday.Those chirping birdies, on that rainy afternoon during a hard week, reminded me to sing. Click To Tweet
I’ve admitted already that my gratitude list has felt, at times, a little forced. But I find if I’m consistent, I notice the gifts more often, more naturally and with more detail. It’s not a legalistic way to count my blessings, but a practice to set my mind on things above (Col. 3:2) and to keep my mind on Christ (Is. 26:3); Scripture tells us trust and peace are fruits that result.
Those chirping birdies, on that rainy afternoon during a hard week, reminded me to sing. I learned that small birds often have their bodies upright with their beaks pointed upward toward the rain, conserving energy and allowing the rain to flow off of them. It’s thought that raindrops might actually amplify the bird’s song, making it appear the bird is closer than it actually is!
With our faces lifted to the One who sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous (oh, how hard that is for us to comprehend!), we can withstand the storm and be ready for the ultimate feast that is to come. Our songs of praise in the “even ifs” allow us to wait out the storm for the long view. And our songs can be amplified to the listeners around us – because of our peaceful trust is in our compassionate Creator, not because we’re ignoring the storm.
Finding a Feast After the Rain
As I found in my research, birds will begin to sing as an indication that the weather is about to improve. Singing and activity during a storm may be unusual, but for birds like robins, they know the rain conjures up the goodness of a feast and are willing to risk it.
Most other small bird species, however, wait for the rains to pass and know by their God-given instincts that wet weather generates a feast to come – and they begin to sing.
As we’re pelted with the raindrops of suffering, it’s difficult for us to anticipate the bounty that awaits us. When our bodies seem to betray us, when our loved ones don’t cooperate, when we feel lonely or disconnected – it feels like all we can do to seek shelter and wait it out. But if we take a lesson from the birds, we can sense the storm ending and sing as we wait for the satisfying banquet to come (Rev. 19:7-9).
- What is one thing for which you need to “name the narrative” this week? (ie, grief, loneliness, discontent, fear, joy, anticipation, hope)
- What can you learn from the birds today – acceptance of the storm, singing in the middle of the storm or grasping the reality of the feast that is to come?
- What is one thing you can do to practically fix your eyes on God’s character?
Suggestions : Make a gratitude list. Take a walk in nature and name His benefits. Read 2 Corinthians 4 and list what you learn about God from the passage, then thank Him for it.
Each week(ish), I offer you a “Monday Goodness” devotional. I pray it will encourage you to focus on God’s goodness, His Word, and truths to help you cling to Him in life’s impossible. You can find past Monday Goodness devotionals here.
Want to know more about birds? See my sources below.