While Massachusetts remains under COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, my church is emailing daily devotionals written by members of our congregation. This is one I wrote for today.
“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.”Matthew 6:26
The other day, I stepped out of the house to stretch my legs and take a work break. Since self-distancing and isolation began, I’ve needed the outdoors more than ever to clear my head and give me perspective. Grief brings its own isolation, and quarantine compounds it. As I stood on my back porch, I breathed in the fresh air and quieted my spirit. My yard, however, was anything but quiet. All around me birds were singing and calling to each other from the trees and bushes that line my property.
Taking their cues from the sun, the weather and their innate sense of purpose, these birds are preparing for spring. They carry on with their duties unaware of the virus that keeps me indoors, of the tension and anxiety that these uncertain times bring. Their little minds think only of the present moment; they do not worry about tomorrow. Is it a blissful ignorance or a simple trust? I suspect it is the latter.
I am reminded that Jesus asks me to become like these birds. Neither sowing nor reaping. Simply trusting. Trusting that He is good, that He is in control, that He has good things prepared for those He loves. Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. In times of uncertainty, though, even trusting can feel like a hard thing to do.
Our family often visits a local wildlife sanctuary to feed the birds. (I’d never seen this before moving to New England, but it’s encouraged at this place.) Even though we go frequently, the birds don’t remember us. They don’t come to us right away when we arrive. Instead, the birds swoop close then fly back to the trees. Each time, we must stand, arms uplifted with seed in hand, waiting for them to trust us.
If Jesus tells me to be like the birds, I know He understands how hard it is to trust Him sometimes. Jesus stands with His open hand of provision and blessing. He waits patiently for me to alight upon it. He knows what I need and lovingly provides every time, even if it takes me a while to get there.
Quarantine may feel chaotic, but it has also cleared my calendar. Today, as I go about my day, I hope to become more like those birds I hear outside my door. Their life of trust is one I want to cultivate. Jesus knows it will take me time. In these slower days, now is the perfect time to start.
Loving Savior, you stretched out your arms on the cross to bring me peace with God. I confess that often I forget that you continue to provide for my every need. Help me to believe your promises even when it is hard for me to see your hand at work. Teach me to bring my cares and concerns to you. Help me to trust you. Amen.