Some years ago, we were on a vacation in Fiordland and visited Walter Peak Station, around the back of Lake Wakatipu. As we were viewing the lake over towards Queenstown, a movement caught our eye up in the air some distance away. It was a sparrow hawk, after exactly that - a sparrow! The battle was intense with the sparrow twisting, turning, diving, circling, doing all it could to keep out of the talons of that hawk who was in hot pursuit.

The battle went on for some time, the poor little sparrow couldn’t get a straight line flight for refuge, as the hawk would have been much faster. It could only outsmart the hawk by manoeuvring quickly in every which way.

In their fighting flight, they drifted towards the closest trees, yet some distance away, but as they got closer, the dark colour of the trees blocked our clear view and we were not able to see whether the little sparrow got to the safety of the trees or not.

That experience stuck in our minds, nature has its beauty, but it also has its cruelty. We came across a story recently that reminded us of that battle in the sky in the Queenstown area. This story, we do know the ending.

One day, Charles Wesley was sitting by an open window, looking out over the beautiful fields during summer. A little bird flitting about attracted his attention. Just then, a hawk came sweeping down toward the little bird. The poor thing, very much frightened, was darting here and there, trying to find a place of refuge. In the bright, sunny air, in the leafy trees, or the green fields, there was no hiding place for the fierce grasp of the hawk.

But seeing the open window and the man sitting by it, the bird flew in its terror towards it and with beating heart and quivering wing, found refuge in Charles Wesley’s bosom. So he took up his pen and wrote the beautiful hymn;

  “Jesus, lover of my soul, Let me to thy bosom fly,
    While the waves of trouble roll, While the tempest still is high.
    Hide me, O my Saviour hide! Till the storm of life is past
    Safe into the haven guide, O receive my soul at last!”