I love birds. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some sort of crazy bird lady. But I do love them.
The older I get the more I appreciate these funny little creatures. I love observing the brilliant American goldfinch. And the precious little chickadees amuse me with their spunk and charm. An occasional eastern bluebird is a rare, stunning treat. And the cardinal couple endears me with their affection and care for one another. But the thing I love most about these birds, is they joyfully go about their day without a care, despite the uncertainties and challenges they face.
Where I live in northeast Ohio we’ve had hail, sunshine, rain, snow, 30 and 70 degree weather-all in the last month! I’ve complained about this from the comfort of my home. But the birds have whatever natural home they can shelter in.
Even so, they seemingly embrace each day with a song in their heart and a vigor for life. And I find that incredibly moving.
Could it be that they are unaware of all that goes on in this world? Could it be that they are just simple-minded creatures? Ok, I know they are. But hang with me-I believe they are simply doing exactly what they were created to do. And they can, because God cares for them and provides for their every need.
In Psalm 50:11 we read God’s words, “I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are Mine.” And in Psalm 147:9, “He provides food for the animals, and for the young ravens when they call.”
I don’t even like ravens. They creep me out. They’re loud and obnoxious. But God hears them when they call and He provides for their needs. Isn’t that amazing?!
And this is where I think we can learn something from these precious little creatures. In Matthew 6:25-26, Jesus said:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
For those who call upon the name of the Lord, this should give us great security! We can go about our days with confidence and even joy, because our God is in control.
And He cares for us.
But too often we can forget this truth. The world gets crazy, our lives get busy, and before we realize it we can be swept away with waves of anxiety.
But Jesus goes on in verses 27-33:
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? Consider how the lilies of the field grow: They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was adorned like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles strive after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”
The key to overcoming the waves of anxiety is found in this truth:
Our heavenly Father cares for us and will provide for us. He is in control.
In the following verse 33 we find instruction, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.”
We are commanded to seek God first and His will for our lives. You might be asking, “What is His will for my life?”
First and foremost, if you do not know the Lord, His will is that you would come to know Him. He wants you to believe in the person and work of Jesus Christ, God’s Son; and He wants you to trust in Him and love Him. In Mark 1:15, Peter proclaimed,
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
When you believe in Jesus Christ, and confess that you’ve sinned (you’ve lived a life of rebellion by previously not trusting in Him or following His commands), then you are made to have a right relationship with God.
How does this work? We see in the Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Jesus Christ paid for your sins with His death on the cross. 1 Peter 3:18 states, “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” But that wasn’t the end. God raised Jesus to life again! He defeated death and was made the ruler of the world. And to anyone who will believe in Him, He promises to never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), to give us the Helper: the Holy Spirit (John 14:16), and the gift of eternal life with Him! Do you see how God cares for you and has provided for you?
In Matthew 28:19-20 We read about the second part of God’s will for our lives. In it Jesus commanded:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
What does this mean? Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert put it this way in their book What is the Mission of the Church?,
“We believe the church is sent into the world to witness to Jesus by proclaiming the gospel and making disciples of all nations. This is our task. This is our unique and central calling” (26).
And this is how we can overcome the waves of anxiety that life throws at us. We can choose to quiet those worries with the truth of Who God is. And we can trust:
God is in control. He will provide all that we need. And He cares for us.
Louise M. R. Stead was a godly woman who’s life was a testament to these truths. One day she and her husband took their four year old daughter to the beach in Long Island Sound, New York. While they ate a picnic lunch they heard the cries of a boy drowning in the ocean. Mr. Stead rushed to save him. However, in the process, both were drowned before Louise and their daughter’s eyes. It was following this tragedy, as Louise struggled with the “Why?” that she penned the beautiful lyrics that would become the beloved Hymn “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus, by William J. Kirkpatrick.
My prayer is that I would follow the example of the precious birds. That I would go about my days with joy, because I trust God will provide for me, and that He cares for me.
And I pray that for you too.
‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
and to take him at his word;
just to rest upon his promise,
and to know, “Thus saith the Lord.”
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him!
How I’ve proved him o’er and o’er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust him more!
-Louise M. R. Stead