Snuggled up on the couch with my latte and devotional I noticed the feeder was empty again. The temperatures have dropped and the birds have to eat more to stay warm but this year they seem to be hungrier than usual.
I told myself it could wait until the snow melted but then a songbird arrived and I couldn’t bear the thought of it being cold. I’d put a blanket on a bear if I thought it was chilled so this friend had me with one chirp. I grabbed the food and went out in the eighteen degrees.
When I came back inside shivering my coffee was cold but I didn’t care. Winter fosters a very special relationship with nature and I’m always the better for what it teaches me.
I warmed up what was left in my mug and sat down in front of the fire with my journal. I opened it at random and next to a penny symbol (₵) saw an entry that read, “All I have needed thy hands hath provided. Great is they faithfulness Lord unto me.”*
Just like the birds I thought. Yes just like the birds the Holy Spirit whispered.
I sat quietly for the next few minutes and reflected on all the ways God had provided in the last year. The list was long and varied but one common denominator stood out—in every situation it didn’t look like what I pictured it would. Instead, God came through in ways I couldn’t have predicted—the feeder of my life was filled but not at the time or in the way I envisioned it happening.
Warmed up my gaze turned to the nativity scene I have sitting inside the window the feeder frames. The birds were feasting and Mary and Joseph stood beside the baby Jesus. I have several nativities but this particular one is very unique with its primitive style. The simplicity of it reminds me that I have a tendency to over complicate things whereas God’s message is so straightforward—believe and receive.
Between the songbirds and the nativity I heard that still small voice again saying, you’ve believed and received—not always the way you expected but when you’ve sought the right things you’ve not gone without. It’s been as simple for you as the birds.
This begs the question why do I find myself surprised when God works in ways I never imagined? The answer is probably as simple being called to live by faith not sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7) If a man can always picture the way God will choose to work his faith is self-based—limited to his narrow vision versus God’s magnificent landscape.
The story of Jesus birth speaks to this. God chose to change the course of history in a way the Israelites couldn’t foresee. He didn’t give birth to a political king instead he chose a servant king. He tore to bits the image people had for how he was going to carry out His will.
Daily I need this reminder as I seek after His best. All I need His hand will provide. His faithfulness is that great. I don’t need to spend any time trying to picture how He’ll do what He promises to do—I just need to wait like the songbird.
“Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.” *From the hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness” by Thomas Chisholm