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Raven's Cage
Raven’s Cage at London Zoo Jan 2009

 AVIARIES…are large enclosures for confining birds.  Unlike cages, aviaries allow birds a larger living space where they can fly; hence, aviaries are also sometimes known as flight cages.  Aviaries often contain plants and shrubbery to stimulate a natural environment.  They vary in size and complexity.  Raven Cage, dating from 1829, is regarded as one of the oldest structures in the London Zoo. 

Birds seem to breed best in aviaries as opposed to breeding cages.  My experience with these is to observe them in retirement centers and nursing homes.  Recently, I was visiting a friend in a rehab facility and stopped to admire their aviary, and to watch the ‘love’ among the birds.  Two birds were really going at it with their beaks on one of the limbs.  It wasn’t a large cage but adequate for the joy of its occupants.

Aviaries #1

I asked myself, why are these in facilities where the elderly reside?  Easy answer; they reflect life, and joy and peace.  They distract you from what is going on in and around you.  I found myself engrossed in their habitat and their activities.  Nothing else seemed to matter during that short visit.  Misery was present throughout the facility, but there was calm and peace in the aviary.  This thought hit me.  With all the issues in my life and in the world around me, where am I getting my peace; what is the ‘aviary’ for me to feast my eyes upon? 

Jesus was my quick answer!  But how do I do that?  I cannot ‘see’ Him.  I can’t stand and gaze like I did that day in the rehab lobby.  And even if I lived there, I’d have to get out of my room and walk down the hall to the aviary each time I wanted some needed peace.  So then how?  By faith alone!  I must have ‘spiritual eyes’ of faith.  It is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). 

So, what are we hoping for?  In this life it would be peace in the midst of trials; to be able to carry on and prosper even in the face of great odds and against such strong adversaries.  We want the “peace that passes all understanding” as promised in Philippians 4:9.  Jesus said; “blessed are the peacemakers” (Mt. 5:9a).  But how can we make peace when there is little in our own lives?  Scripture tells us we get it only by faith in the One who is the Prince of Peace. 

The writer of Hebrews shares that in order to run our race of life with endurance by faith, we are to “look(ing) unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (vs 12:2). 

Two attributes of the fruit of the Spirit are joy and peace.  How do we attain that in our lives?  Well, He tells us in Isaiah 26:3“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”  It’s quite simple, yet profound!  We need to stand gazing at our ‘Aviary’ and the way we do that is to focus our minds intently on His truth in scripture and that will go with us all day long. Meditating/memorizing/internalizing!

Just as I wanted to stop and gaze at the aviary, we need to desire this peace and joy that can come from Him alone.  King David got it!  “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock” (Psa. 27:4,5).  Talk about joy and peace! 

Is Jesus your Aviary or are you looking elsewhere for your much-desired and needed joy and peace ‘in the time of trouble’?  It doesn’t come without effort on our part.  We must desire it, stop, gaze intently, take it in and rely on it.  His peace truly is “the peace that passes all understanding”.  The next time you pass an aviary, pause and reflect on what great price He paid for us to have His eternal joy and peace, even now.  Shalom; may the peace of Christ dwell in your heart; and may His joy be complete in you!  Aviaries have a way of providing that!

Copyright 2013

Bill C. Dotson



Some information on aviaries was secured from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Scriptures taken from the New King James Version

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