When I was a little girl I knew the names of all of the birds in the backyard. Not just birds. Trees as well. And fish in the nearby ponds and rivers. You see, my Dad is a teacher at heart. We spent a lot of time outside and there were always a lot of teachable moments that he took advantage of. I’m thankful for that.
I’m not sure whether it was my Dad or my mom, or both or neither, but as a child, when I saw a robin in the winter, it was said to be a sign of Spring. So when I saw this robin perched on the branch with it’s little head facing toward the sun, all I could think of was that this little guy looked like it was waiting for Spring. (Me, too!)
And that brings me to the topic of ……………………….waiting. It’s not an easy topic at all. I learned that firsthand today as I tried to get some photos of birds. You see, birds can be a bit camera shy for sure. Especially chickadees. And the chickadee was the one that I thought was so cute so I really wanted to get a few shots of these little creatures that flit all about. So, I’d wait. And wait some more. And then, there would come a little chickadee landing right at a spot for a great photograph, almost posing, for Heaven’s sake, but by the time I’d find the little guy in the lens and then focus, he’d flit off in the wild blue yonder. And I’d wait some more.
Well, after a lot of those unsuccessful moments of trying to capture a photo of some birds, I learned something. If I’d anticipate where the birds were landing (all near the birdseed of course), and focus my camera on that area and wait for the birds to fly on into my range of vision instead of trying to point the camera all over creation as it came in, well, I was a lot more successful.
And I started to think about waiting, and how we can make things so much harder on ourselves in the waiting. There’s a verse that says, “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint…” (Isaiah 40:31) T
Life is full of lots of waiting. Sometimes we can be like the chickadee flitting around trying to busy ourselves to fill the time until whatever we’re waiting for finally shows up. Or, we can be like the blue jay that bulldozes it’s way and takes over the situation and tries to control what it can’t control. Meanwhile, all the rest of the little birds have made sure to steer clear of this disruptive fellow.
Or, we can be like the bird that pouts a bit and lets everyone know that he indeed is waiting and how incredibly difficult it is. We can complain with the waiting. And complain and complain and grumble some more.
Or we can be proud and pretend. We can pretend that we aren’t waiting and we don’t have a care in the world. We are just fine and no we are fully in control of ourselves and our surroundings thank you very much. Proud Bubble. About to pop when the waiting goes a little bit too long…
Or we can take it to a whole other level and just not be satisfied with anything or anybody until the waiting is over. We can challenge people to get things going or ….or …..or we don’t know what we’ll do, but it’s so not going to be good! (The cardinal’s face says it all!)
Or, we can learn to focus on the tasks at hand. Not looking to and fro, trying to make things happen quicker. I’m all for hard work, but right now, the waiting I’m referring to has to do with waiting for things that are out of our control, not in our control. We can be resolved to enjoy the moment. Do the task at hand and notice our surroundings and the ones who are around us. Be all in where we are rather than focusing on the next thing. Funny how it’s easy to always be looking forward to the next thing in a way that makes us not even enjoy the moment we’re in. I don’t want to look back and think on missed opportunities because I was always focused on the next thing.
This photo sums up for me the waiting process that I think is pleasing to God. No matter how busy we are, if we can find that place of solitude of knowing that God has it all in control and we can trust Him, the waiting looks a lot different. It’s the “Be still and know that I am God” kind of waiting demeanor. Not like the bulldozing blue jay, or flitting about chickadee, or confrontative cardinal. It’s the ‘I’m going to fly on wings of eagles’ kind of waiting. Because why?
Because….I know who holds me in the shadow of His wings. Right before the verse that says, “those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength….”, the verses say, “Do you not know? Have you not heard?The Lord is the Everlasting God, the Creator of the Ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.” (Isaiah 40:28)
In those times in my life when I’ve been able to be still like the above bird, rather than being the cardinal or blue jay, or chickadee, there’s been a resolve of knowing a few things. God is in control. I am not. ( I mean, there are just some things …a lot of them…that are not in our hands!) And last, God is good. Put them all together, and it’s just trust. Trust. Trusting God and His perfect timing can make the waiting for the answered prayers and relational breakthroughs and desire for direction a joy rather than a wrenching of the heart and a wringing of the hands. God’s got this…
Oh, and I hope I can get a memo out to my little (metaphorical) bird friends. His eye isn’t just on the sparrow…. He’s non discriminatory when it comes to caring for “birds” of any feathers. Confrontative Cardinals. Flitting Chickadees, Bull dozing blue jays. He knows us well and He loves us well. He gives. It is ours but to receive.
Matthew 6:25 says, “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?”
Take heart, little cardinal. His eye is on you, too.