The warbling notes of its song make me think of home. It sounds like a North American Robin … except this bird rolls it’s “rrrrs.” It must be Panamanian. In the past weeks its song has been constant and repetitive; at five in the morning, at Noon, at dusk … close at hand and far away. Trill answering trill.

The other constant has been its nest building. On one beam of our veranda, a little brown bird is knitting together its casita of twigs and grass. Because the house we’re staying in is on the market, the gardener has knocked the nest down repeatedly. He barely has the mess swept up and the bird is back with another beak full of materials. The feathered builder is relentless and impossible to dissuade.

We are not the first to have our home become a nesting place. The temple in Jerusalem was evidently very popular. According to Psalm 84, “Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God.” It’s a mundane view of the temple that I hadn’t considered. The mighty ornamental building … with sparrows and swallows tucking their nests in around its massive stone and atop the bronze columns. I wonder if there was a division of junior Levites tasked with the endless job of nest removal.

You might be surprised to learn that the Psalmist mentions the nesting birds with a tinge of envy. In the time he was writing, to be at the temple was to be nearer the presence of God. He longed, like those little birds, to be always in the house of the Lord. He began his song, “How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” He could think of nothing better than being close to his God … “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.”

I don’t have to go to a temple to have access to God. Jesus Christ died on the cross to give me open access to His presence. But I want the same heart as the writer of Psalm 84. When it comes to staying close to God, I want the tenacity of a nesting robin. I want a heart that relentlessly seeks God … a heart that cannot be dissuaded.