One summer day, I was on my knees piddling around in the flower bed out back, clearing out little weeds and grass that had sprung up around my plants seemingly overnight. I noticed a robin had come to visit, and was perched on the fence about fifteen feet away from me. It was the first time a bird had ever come that close to me in my backyard; however it was still a safe distance from an unpredictable human; a safe distance from which to observe my doings. This bird knew that there was a possibility that worms and bugs would be exposed, and it was willing to wait for me to move out of the way.
Soon, there was movement beneath the earth and then a little exposure from a couple bugs; then a worm showed up. Robin left the fence immediately, landed on the ground closer to me, and then took a step towards me as it looked at me and then the earth, and back at me again, and back at the worm and bugs. Robin was ready to feast but was not sure about what I might do.
As I continued to dig and pull up weeds and grass blades, the bugs scampered quickly for cover, and more worms became exposed, wiggling back and forth as in wonder about where their cover had gone. As far as they were concerned, they were experiencing an earthquake and they needed to find cover.
Robin was anxious to start feasting. I greeted the bird in a soft tone as I slowly moved backward, still on my knees, so that Robin would feel more comfortable about feasting in my presence. Robin cocked her head to one side as though giving me its undivided attention. Perhaps it was changing its lens to make sure my intentions were honorable.
Within seconds, Robin was no less than one foot away from me and the feeding spot; one eye on me and the other on the fodder. And then it happened. Robin felt a certain amount of safety present and began feasting. This beautiful creature was extremely hungry and it ate to its heart delight. In fact, so much was consumed that her stomach appeared to bulge noticeably and I reminded the bird that it would not be able to launch back into the sky if it didn’t stop, and Robin seemed to understand what I said. She looked at me as if to give some thought to what I had just said, and then went back to feasting.
Finally, she picked up a long, fat worm by its mid-section and held it by its beak. She was so full that she could not eat any more. It almost seemed like both her eyes and belly were bulging. She looked up at me with the worm hanging from her mouth, and appeared to say “Thank you for making my job so easy today.” The look was a picture-perfect moment, and I knew we connected. For roughly ten seconds, we looked at each other without uttering a sound. If only that moment could have been captured on film.
With the worm still hanging from her mouth, Robin took flight–probably back to her nest where she may have had babies waiting for food. I thanked the Lord for using me to help Robin find food.
And then I reflected: Robin was the provider for her family. She knew she did not have any food at home, and she took flight looking for a spot where food might be found. She saw me working in the yard and knew that this was an opportunity that had the potential to solve her problem for the day. She had her “faith” cap on, and I learned later that it was active and worked well for her.
She came in for a landing, took a closer look at the situation, and decided to invest some time in waiting on development. Her reward for waiting was more than enough food for the day.
From the recesses of my mind, there came forward another story about a bird and food. It was about Elijah who was fed by ravens in 1 Kings 17:1-6. Elijah was in hiding by the Brook Cherith when “the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening…” Elijah was fed by the most unlikely bird imaginable, the raven, because it was declared unclean in Lev.11:15. And this came as no surprise to Elijah because God had already told him who the “special delivery boys” would be.
God will use anybody and anything to bless us. We could easily miss a blessing if we turn up our noses at someone who has peculiar habits or dresses funny, but, unbeknownst to us, it is a person who has a big heart and wants to bless us. What is strange looking to us could even be a God-sent angel. Elijah would have starved to death if God had not warned him in advance about how the food would be delivered.
As children of God, when we find ourselves in a survival mode, we must acknowledge what has happened and then, what it will take to survive the situation–just like the Robin did. It is no telling how long she had been searching for food that she could call a meal. Her faith was backed by determination which was driven by her situation. She had faith that God would provide for her and her family, and she was determined to find the blessing of food; her situation demanded that she put forth the effort. She left her family and went foraging for food that day, believing that God would provide food for her. All she had to do was to get out and find it.
Elijah, on the other hand, also had faith and trust in God that He would keep His promise of providing food. In this situation, Elijah was in hiding for his life and he could not go out looking for food. He was in no position to be particular about how God would feed him.
God gave us choice. Survival mode does not mean giving up; and giving up is not an option if we love God. It means looking for the way out of the situation that the Lord approved for us to take. After all, He allowed the discomfort in our lives to happen in the first place–for His purpose down the road.
We can choose to invest our time in exploring all kinds of options; those that are available and those that we can create; or we can choose to consult with relatives and friends who do not know how to help us and have no suggestions to offer because they are in the same boat. We can become lazy and sit around watching TV waiting for something to happen–expecting something for nothing. Survival mode is a serious mode and requires all the thoughtful consideration one can muster up. We do not want to admit it, but this is another way that God wants to get our undivided attention.
If Robin had stayed at home instead of going out to search for opportunity she would have starved. She had no time to waste in unproductive socializing. She did not wait to ask advice from other robins nor did she go begging them. She knew what she needed and she took flight to get it.
This type survival can be a test that God might put before us that will demand we seek out opportunities to explore, come up with a plan, and nurture it into action. We should be willing to do whatever morally sound thing it takes to make it work; even spend as many hours per day as humanly possible to give the plan a chance to work.
God is the provider for all of His creation, and He is always on time. Sometimes it may seem that He comes at the eleventh hour and fifty-ninth second, but He comes! He wants us to trust Him to take care of our needs during tough times, in the same way that He does for the wild birds, animals, and fish that trust Him. On the other hand, if we don’t get the answer we’re expecting to get, just know that it is not what He wants for us and that we may not be in the right lane to receive His blessing.
The snapshots of how God cares for us is something to always remember.
Seeing more clearly,