Lesson from the Birds

winter-birdIt was the first day of relatively warm weather after a spate of frigid temperatures. You understand, of course, that “frigid” is in the eye of the beholder. To a Floridian or citizen of Zambia, frigid can mean 55 F° (13° C). For someone living here in the Rocky Mountains or for a denizen of Minnesota or New Hampshire, it’s only when the red stuff in the outdoor thermometer descends near the zero mark that we pull out those extra sweaters.

Not only had the temperature leveled off that day, but it was also the first time in many weeks that I sat quietly in my QC (Quiet Chair) for more than ten minutes. My body and soul were tired. My cushioned rocker brought comfort to the first; sunshine and blue sky glimpsed through the tall pines outside the window eased the latter. This wasn’t the time to study, read theological tomes or parse some of the Apostle Paul’s sentences. I needed to just sit and allow God to feed me from His own soul.

Scientists say that when the body has endured severe trauma—accident, major surgery, etc.—and is unable to be nourished from natural sources (food, intravenous liquids, etc.), it begins to feed on itself, thus “cannibalizing” itself. In extreme cases (such as many lost North and South Pole explorers), death eventually occurs.

Due to the circumstances of life, that’s what I’d been doing in recent weeks: spiritually, emotionally feeding off my stored resources. This is not a bad thing. God has designed us so that this process sees us through what I call the emergency seasons until “real food” can again be consumed and enjoyed. Time in my QC would become the source of my much needed “real food.”

Suddenly I glimpsed flickering movement in those pine braches. There! Small birds, first one, then another, until I spied a dozen or more hopping from one branch to another as though playing a game of hide and seek or hop scotch to an unheard melody. Released from the days of near zero temperatures, these tiny creatures danced in the pines under the sun’s new warmth. Not looking for food (though food was necessary), not building nests (though warm refuges would be indispensable), not hiding from predators (though sneaky squirrels with wagging tails lurked on the fence railing), not worrying about the next storm (though it would soon arrive). Just living, dancing, singing in the blessings of the moment.

I didn’t rise from my QC with all my needs satisfied. I didn’t experience a sudden burst of physical energy. But I remembered Jesus’ words: Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 

Look at and learn from the birds.

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