Lesson #1: Don’t Worry. The Lord Keeps His Promises.
One Christmas we reluctantly agreed that our granddaughters’ new parakeets (Prince and Princess) could stay in our home. Between visits from the girls, the responsibility to care for the birds fell on me, Nana. After several weeks of cleaning the cage, vacuuming seed shells, and keeping fresh water and food readily available, I was sorry that we consented to keep those birds! I developed a bad attitude and considered reneging on my promise. Then God gave me a different perspective.
I was going through a very tough period in my life. Pressure from a painful health condition, employment concerns, and financial woes were causing restless nights. I was stressed. One day, while going through the ritual of caring for the birds, the Lord brought Matthew 6:25-34 to mind:
“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow…” Matthew 6:33-34 a
God reminded me of a blessed truth! Just as God was providing for the worry-free Prince and Princess, He would provide for me also. After all, I am even more precious to God than the birds. I should not worry but walk by faith in the Lord’s promises. I chose to pay attention to those lessons from the birds — to take on some of Prince and Princess’s characteristics of singing, playing, and resting throughout my day to replace the worrying.
“…admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16 b
Lesson #2: Don’t Fret. Blossom Where You Are.
Princess eventually became difficult to keep because she would injure the other bird. She liked people but not other birds. (Unfortunately, we can be like that to our own kind as well, can’t we?) She was adopted out to a home that could cage her separately.
Prince, over time, became very ill. You would not want to read how messy things became in and out of the cage of a sick bird. Yuck. I had to remind myself during the day that I had been appointed by God to care for the life of that bird. My resolve was tested. A trip to the vet and medications did not help. Prince lost his vision and became weak.
Eventually, things got worse. I put Prince in the travel container to take him to be euthanized. When I got in the car I cried so hard that I knew in my heart God wanted this bird to live. I brought him back in and lovingly cared for him for a few months longer until God had him take his last breath. Many times I would just sit in a chair and observe his behaviors, demeanor, and insatiable quest for life. I found myself wondering if I was as strong and adaptable as that bird. During those months, I found myself once again learning from a bird.
- I observed a bird that loved life and lived it courageously. I, too, should be like that (Joshua 1:9).
- I observed a bird that adapted to its plight in life instead of giving up. After becoming blind and too weak to fly, Prince sat on the perch near the food and water. I, too, should not quit but depend on the Lord to strengthen me and give me direction (Philippians 4:13; Psalm 18:32; Proverbs 3:5-6).
- I observed a bird that made itself content. I, too, should be content (Philippians 4:11-12).
Oh, that I would sing and blossom where God has placed me and with what God has given me…just like those birds!