Friday, January 02, 2009

Just what I needed

Today, I saw a sparrow.

It was quietly hopping up the trunk of the tree behind my house, foraging for food in the cracks of the tree's bark. From what I could see, it was finding plenty to eat as it made its journey up and up, like a chicken pecking at seed.

I didn't know sparrows stuck around during winter months. I wouldn't know where they might go, but just as the Great Blue Herons which majestically soared up and down the river corridor have disappeared for this season, I figured sparrows might have to go elsewhere for their own survival as well. I guess I was wrong.

You might not know the significance seeing this little bird held for me this morning. Each morning, when I wake up, even in freezing temperatures, I make my way to my back deck and stare at the river. I take a moment to give God praise, which is easy to do when I see the wonder of His creation. Directly across the river from my house is Davis Island. I've spent countless hours watching the wildlife on the island and in the river - deer, wild turkey, muskrats, Canadian geese, herons of all kinds, ducks, and even the squirrels which scamper up and down my trees. I've watched a female Cardinal struggle for days to get the attention of a male, and occasionally a great big groundhog finds his way out from under the neighbors porch and makes his way down to the river. On a clear day, I can even see countless trout, bass and muskies swimming beneath the river's surface.

But today, there was no other wildlife to be seen. Today, I saw a sparrow.

It was this little bird feasting on everything it could find which spoke directly to my soul. Indeed, His eye is on the sparrow. "Thank you Jesus, for this reminder," my soul cried out. This is just what I needed.

God has been in the business of reorganizing my life for some time now. I will admit it, it has been very painful. For an overachiever like me, the pain of finding a job, working there for ten months and being "let go" over and over again has been one of the most crushing series of events of my life. Nothing else has hurt quite so much as knowing I consider myself a "career woman," but facing the rejection of job after job. This has warped the perspective in which I see myself, which has the tendency to bring me through dark periods of depression and a lack of self-worth.

On the brighter side, because hindsight is 20/20, I have seen His hand every step of the way. God has continually guided me to places, taught me lessons and revealed His truth, while maybe not-so-gently showing me there is a certain something He wants from me, or of me, and none of these jobs were "it."

I lost my last job in June. At this last place of employment, God did some amazing things to set me on my path. He aggressively dealt with the sins and pains of my past, healed me of those memories and even birthed a book in me whereby I may be able to bring healing to others. Deep stuff. And then, like the gentleman He is, He released me. He clearly spoke to me and told me, "Be still and know that I am God." Let's just say, I've been trying really hard to do what He said.

Then, He brought me back to Milton. This town had been filled with painful memories and places of judgment from my adolescence. But through the work He did on me at my last job, I was able to no longer wince when I thought of this community where I grew up. He ordained circumstances which allowed me to move here, to be blessed with a beautiful home. I still have no idea why He brought me here, but I know His hand is in it.

My Unemployment checks run out this coming week. Although I have applications and interviews under my belt, I have still heard nothing regarding these opportunities. With winter, the utility bills mount. So do things like tension and fear and seasonal depression.

But today, I saw a sparrow.

Afer praising God for His beautiful reminder, I turned to my email for my morning Devotion. Of course, again, He spoke.

From "My Utmost for His Highest":

He went out, not knowing whither he went. Hebrews 11:8

"Have you been "out" in this way? If so, there is no logical statement possible when anyone asks you what you are doing. One of the difficulties in Christian work is this question - "What do you expect to do?" You do not know what you are going to do; the only thing you know is that God knows what He is doing. Continually revise your attitude towards God and see if it is a going out of everything, trusting in God entirely. It is this attitude that keeps you in perpetual wonder - you do not know what God is going to do next. Each morning you wake it is to be a "going out," building in confidence on God. "Take no thought for your life,...nor yet for your body" - take no thought for the things for which you did take thought before you "went out."

Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do; He reveals to you Who He is. Do you believe in a miracle-working God, and will you go out in surrender to Him until you are not surprised an atom at anything He does?

Suppose God is the God you know Him to be when you are nearest to Him- what an impertinence worry is! Let the attitude of the life be a continual "going out" in dependence upon God, and your life will have an ineffable charm about it which is a satisfaction to Jesus. You have to learn to go out of convictions, out of creeds, out of experiences, until so far as your faith is concerned, there is nothing between yourself and God."

I don't know where I'm going, what I'm doing, where the next paycheck will come from, but God does. I have to learn to rest in that. I have continually spoken over myself, "Be still and know that He is God," "God is in control" and "I've never seen the righteous forsaken or His seed begging for bread" when the anxiety was rearing its ugly head. Faith. It's what we need more than anything else - Faith.

Do you have Faith? Do you know He has your back at all times? Do you know He is the greatest Father, Protector, Provider, Healer, Strong Deliverer, Peacemaker, Banner, Shepherd, Righteousness and Presence which ever was, is or is to come? Do you KNOW this? Can you search the depths of your heart and soul and erase all doubt that He always comes through? He ALWAYS comes through. I challenge you to name one time when the Lord didn't come through for you. He may not have come through in the way you wanted, but I bet He made it better in the way He wanted.

Today, I saw a sparrow. As much as I've leaned on the Lord for the past six months, this past month had me leaning on my own understanding again. Well, you know what the Bible says about that. It says "Lean NOT on your understanding." It also says, "Let not your heart be troubled, there is no reason to fear." It says a whole bunch of stuff that feels good when you read it or hear it preached, but is sometimes really hard to live out.

But today - with a little bird climbing up a tree and pecking at what I'm certain were probably bugs, the Lord spoke volumes into my life and clearly told me to share this message with you.

His eye is on the sparrow. Say it again. His eye is on the sparrow. One more time. His EYE is on the SPARROW. And so what? And so I know He watches over me (and You.)