For several weeks this spring we enjoyed a special visitor to our home, a male cardinal.
At least once each day he perched on the window sill above our front door. His head would cock from side to side as he considered his reflection in the glass. Then he would flutter upwards, sometimes as high as two feet or so, his wings batting against the window.
No doubt he thought the reflection was another cardinal, and he wasn’t about to allow an interloper to move in on his territory!
Every morning I heard his fluttering wings against the glass and stood to watch his proprietary dance.
What if he hurts himself, I thought. Too bad I can’t communicate with the little guy, and let him know his fight for territory is unnecessary.
We humans ARE capable of receiving communication. And God has graciously given us his Word–full of infallible wisdom–so we don’t waste time and energy on worthless pursuits.
Too often, though, I am like that little cardinal, fluttering my wings in a frenzy of self-gratification, or questions that have no answers, or worthless contemplation of what ifs. The results are as unproductive and meaningless as territorial rituals with a nonexistent rival.
Unlike that red bird, I can understand instruction, but sometimes I fail to pay attention.
It’s not as if God hasn’t clearly explained through many scriptures the way to peace and contentment. Some are embarrassingly familiar:
Do not fret…Trust in the Lord and do good…Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this (Psalm 37:1-5). [So, it boils down to this: Am I going to believe that God will do what he says? Am I going to lean into him and trust?]
“It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). [That principle applies to gifts of time and effort as well as monetary. And just how often does the giver experience more blessing than the receiver? Almost always!]
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and you minds in Christi Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). [Note to self: Focus on your all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise God. He is bigger than any problem, any need.]
Instead of beating my wings in a flutter-frenzy, I want to take inspiration from another activity cardinals are known for: singing!
I lift my voice in praise to you, my God and King!
Your majesty and greatness are beyond comprehension,
yet you care for me.
You extend your mercy to forgive,
your grace to provide,
your wisdom to direct,
your strength to uphold.
Everything you do is right.
May my heart be steadfast
to trust you and follow your Word.
Turn my heart toward your ways
and away from worthless pursuits.
If I’m serving and singing, I won’t have time for flutter-frenzies!