9 A writing of King Hezekiah of Judah, after he had been sick and had recovered from his sickness:
10 I said: In the noontide of my days
I must depart;
I am consigned to the gates of Sheol
for the rest of my years.
11 I said, I shall not see the Lord
in the land of the living;
I shall look upon mortals no more
among the inhabitants of the world.
12 My dwelling is plucked up and removed from me
like a shepherd’s tent;
like a weaver I have rolled up my life;
he cuts me off from the loom;
from day to night you bring me to an end;
13 I cry for help[b] until morning;
like a lion he breaks all my bones;
from day to night you bring me to an end.
14 Like a swallow or a crane[c] I clamor ……
8 At that time, says the Lord, the bones of the kings of Judah, the bones of its officials, the bones of the priests, the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be brought out of their tombs, 2 and they shall be spread before the sun and the moon and all the host of heaven, which they have loved and served, which they have followed, and which they have inquired of and worshiped, and they shall not be gathered or buried; they shall be like dung on the surface of the ground. 3 Death shall be preferred to life by all the remnant that remains of this evil family in all the places where I have driven them, says the Lord of hosts.
4 You shall say to them, Thus says the Lord:
When people fall, do they not get up again?
If they go astray, do they not turn back?
5 Why then has this people[a] turned away
in perpetual faithlessness?
They have held fast to deceit;
they have refused to return.
6 I have given heed and listened,
but they do not speak honestly;
no one repents of wickedness,
saying, “What have I done!”
All of them turn to their own course
like a horse plunging headlong into battle.
7 Even the stork in the heavens
knows its times,
and the turtledove, swallow, and crane[b]
observe the time of their coming,
but my people do not know
the ordinance of the Lord.
My life in Winter Haven has been dotted with cranes (sandhill cranes). Church members Earle and Katie Roberts wrote a little book based on a pair of sandhill cranes which lived in their yard. Paul Schulz, a son of our church who painted the portrait that often serves as our bulletin cover has also painted a number of scenes of sandhill cranes. My wife Teresa’s first teaching job was at Sandhill Elementary School (home of the sandhill cranes). Cranes are a point of curiosity, and a point of reference and example. Jeremiah and Isaiah hold them up as parts of God’s creation that either know when to panic or know when the time is right for life.
God, let me trust that sense of timing that you have placed within me as one of your creatures. Give me your wisdom, and the sense to trust in your leading. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.