Find your oasis of sustaining peace in God - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Find your oasis of sustaining peace in God

July 20th, 2018 SanTan Sun News
Find your oasis of sustaining peace in God


Guest Writer

The songbirds at the backyard feeders were skittish. Nervous. Grabbing one seed and flying away. A male verdin, whose tiny face looked like he had dipped in a mustard pot, wouldn’t pose for pictures. A female house finch, a drab counterpart to her colorful ruby-red-chested mate, refused to linger until the next course.

One seed and done.

“Better enjoy your breakfast before the white-wing dove arrives,” I warned my flighty friends. No sooner were the words out of my mouth, when an 11-inch bird flew over the orange tree like a boss and settled into the flat bird feeder next to the cinder-block fence. The small songbirds scattered at his commanding presence.

Fluffing his white-edged wings, the male surveyed his domain, keeping his blue-rimmed eyes alert for danger.

He had returned to my feeder two months ago, after wintering farther south. He returned for the yearly blooming of the saguaro, performing his important role of pollinating and scattering the seeds of these 75-foot desert giants, a critical component to the cacti’s survival.

The psalmist writes in Psalm 55:6-8 NIV, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. I would flee far away and stay in the desert; I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.”

I have done my pleading. My longing to fly away. My desire to be anywhere but here, as I search for rest and shelter. Oh, that I had wings of a dove! Take me away!

Take me away from urgent emails and text messages. Take me away from a sink filled with three-day-old dishes. Take me away from family responsibilities. Take me away from an overflowing calendar ready to explode.

Oh, that I had wings of a dove.

While no cacti grew in my yard, the white-wing enjoyed his rest stop at the desert oasis at my feeder until Mollie, my rust-colored rescue dog, had enough of his contentment and chased him away with a wag and a bark. The bird didn’t fly far, landing on the edge of our roof as he waited to return to his small retreat.

Watching him, I couldn’t help but wonder if I could discover rest in my own circumstances, in my own situation, in my own backyard? Was it possible?

Psalm 55 concludes with these words in verse 22, “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you. He will never let the righteous be shaken.”

“Sustain” is such a comforting word, like an ice-cold glass of lemonade on parched lips after too much time under the desert sun. According to, “sustain” means “to strengthen or support physically or mentally.” Help. Assist. Encourage. Support. Buoy up. Carry. Cheer up. Hearten.

“Sustain” is not a word about packing your suitcase and heading to Hawaii. Or Bermuda. Or even Nebraska. “Sustain” is about finding the help you need. Right here. Right now. “Sustain” is discovered while settling in. While casting your cares on the Lord.

So yes, be like a white-winged dove. But instead of wishing to fly away, find that oasis of sustaining grace in your own backyard. At your own feeder. Let God reveal how your role is crucial to the survival of others as you scatter your own seeds.

And be at rest.

-Lynne Hartke is the author of “Under a Desert Sky” and the wife of pastor and Chandler City Councilmember Kevin Hartke. She blogs at