[Originally published as Hearing God Through Nature]
An unusual bird showed up at our birdfeeder during a wintery cold snap. But before I share which bird it was, let’s talk about some other wildlife first.
Each winter, I look forward to photographing the most beautiful flying flowers of the winter season: trumpeter swans. They migrate to the Comox Valley each autumn to overwinter. Our valley has lakes, ponds, rivers, and the ocean for them to feed from and rest on. We also have a huge host of farm fields that often have large puddles on them during the rainy season.
When a colder than usual cold snap arrived and turned our local precipitation into a foot of fallen snow, I worried about the swans. Where would they rest? What would they eat? Would they stay warm enough?
My car doors froze shut that week. It didn’t bother me much since I don’t like driving in the snow. My husband, on the other hand, isn’t the least bit afraid of winter driving conditions. He tackles it with the perfect balance of caution and confidence. So, when he invited me to go with him on a drive to pick up an item he had bought, my hesitation was shortlived.
“It’s too beautiful out there to stay home,” he said. “Bring your camera.”
Remembering that the swans had resorted to hanging out on the ocean the last time a cold snap buried the fields under snow, I said yes.
Sure enough, the swans had flocked to the park where our local rivers and ocean meet. How lovely.
They floated like mini-icebergs in the winter sunshine. Tears came to my eyes while my nearly frozen fingers clicked photograph after photograph of the stunning trumpeters. It touched me that God provided for the swans as surely as my husband had provided me with a lovely outing that day.
To be like the birds and live one day at a time means we don’t worry about tomorrow’s dinner. It means we don’t worry about whether we have enough courage to face the winter seasons of the soul. Being brave doesn’t mean we face each day with a detailed schedule of how to deal with it. It means we embrace each moment fully so that we’re not drained of the power to meet the minutes that follow.
When we wait on the Lord moment by moment, it means we trust Him in the present. We stay alert and alive to each beautiful second. We take heart in His strength and lean into His power for our courage to bravely face whatever we’re facing. Or will face.
We trip our confidence in Christ when we’re frantic to understand all the details of our life.
It’s best when we strive to trust God because understanding doesn’t always arrive. But the courage to face life is already available to us when we wait upon the Lord.
Like the swans, we may need to settle in a different location. But God will be with us because… He never leaves us.
Sadly, I’ve spent much of my life detesting change. If I detect a change in the air, fear causes me to freeze up like a cornfield in January. Nothing beautiful can sprout from ice. It would be better if I were an ocean. Salted with faith, trust, and courage, I would flow with whatever the seasons showered. I would dance with the wind. And I would provide refuge for other sojourners who also realize that faith isn’t about living a static life. It’s about living with an ecstatic faith. Jesus is our Provider, Guider, and Leader. He leads survivors through the toughest storms.
He can overturn a ruling against us or turn it into an opportunity to magnify His name through us.
A few days later, my daughter asked me what the beautiful birds at our feeder were. The black, orange, and white lovelies feasted amidst our usual dinner guests of nuthatches, chickadees, and towhees.
“They’re called varied thrushes,” I said. “Each winter, they show up. Especially when we have snow. I’ve taken pictures of them before.”
If our dining room window didn’t have stickers and fingerprints on them from a beloved grandson, I may have taken additional photographs. But I was content. My heart was full of all the fun I had had playing hide and seek with Little Guy the day before. The stickers and pictures, like cobwebs, could wait because living in and enjoying the moment can’t.
Like the varied thrushes and trumpeter swans, we stop and feast on whatever God presents us within the present because anything else we need will arrive when the time is ripe. Today is filled with plenty, and it’s foolish to spoil it with fears tomorrow’s feeder may be empty.
In nature I hear the following Bible verse sung over me:
Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.
Psalm 27:14 NIV
I hope this post blessed you. I wrote it during a dark day when fear was having a hay day with my faith. But the Scripture verse, Psalm 27:14, hangs on my bedroom mirror, reminding me not to fear change. God nudged me to read it. Repeatedly. And so, I did.
Meditating on His Word brings calming medication to troubled souls. It’s one prescription I highly recommend. It’s free too. And it’s also free from negative side effects.
And now, I’d like to close with a poem:
God sings confidence
To trust the way
He meets our needs
God sings security
To trust indeed
That we are seen.
Seen and heard by the King blessings ~ Wendy Mac