My hometown has received much more snow than usual over the last few weeks. Usually during a normal season, we do not get more than a dusting of snow. But this time, we have actually received around 4-5 inches. I know that doesn’t seem like much but around here it practically shuts everything down. After the snow, we’ve had quite a cold spell, which has allowed it to stick around for over a week. It makes the yard and the sides of the road breathtakingly beautiful. It makes the roads, sidewalks, and parking lots treacherously icy.
This morning as I was spending time quietly in God’s presence, a little bird caught my attention. It flitted from branch to branch on the tree outside my window. The temperatures were well below freezing. What a cold morning for such a little bird to be flitting about! I felt invited to consider the bird and God’s care for its very survival.
The first thing I noticed was the bird was occupied and didn’t seem cold. The bird would puff its feathers out to contain the warmth of its little body in defense of the coldness of the morning. What a creative and involuntary design to keep warm. Such an amazing and creative design, a gift from the Creator.
The next thing I noticed was the bird seemed to be finding something in the tree to eat. It instinctually knew where to find food in a dormant tree. This was a gift from God as well, this knowing of where to find the food and things it needed as well as the provision of those resources.
Later in the day, I noticed a bird much like this one jumping branch to branch to reach a limb closer to the heat of the sun. An amazing gift of being drawn to the warmth and the ability to do so. This little bird knew how to take care of itself and all its needs were provided.
As I think about this little bird living out a faithful and contented life, I am drawn to wonder how this all applies to me. Jesus spoke about God’s provision in the chapters containing the Sermon on the Mount.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life (Matt. 6:25-27)?”
I noticed through the little bird flitting around on a cold, frosty morning, that God had provided the resources and the abilities, natural bodily impulses, instincts, and knowings for its survival. As for humankind, this is true as well.
God seems to call us to know and be known. It seems in the letting go of what we perceive as important and following the path before us, God provides. God provides as we allow ourselves to be transformed by the Spirit. As we learn to discern God’s way from the world’s way; our instincts, knowings, intellect, and understandings become more in-tuned with the heart and will of God.
On the way, God provides the resources we need, the opportunities and abilities to show up and be seen as well as to notice the Spirit’s movement in, through, and around us. It seems the invitation, at least for me, is to continue walking toward faithfulness with open hands and an open heart. I can discern, or at least imperfectly discern, and keep walking, showing up, allowing God, myself, and others to vulnerably see me and within that vulnerability, receive them. If I can do this with an open heart and open hands, then maybe I can love the one in front of me.
Sometimes the pathway seems treacherous like walking in these icy conditions. We are only invited to take the time to notice the stunning beauty around us. I, all of us, will do this so very imperfectly. And that is completely okay. It seems it is in the journey and not the destination. That understanding allows me to open my hands and to open my heart.
Hello, I'm Kathi Gatlin. Thanks for stopping by!