Saturday, April 12, 2014

Unbelievably Fragile... Unerringly Strong...

        Each spring I am reminded of the faithfulness of God.
        It's not the beauty of the  flowers budding out or the trees sprouting leaves all over the place or even the return of mild temps accompanied by sunny days.   All those are wonderful things but, for me, the sudden appearance of a hummingbird at our feeder is the thing that never fails to remind me of the faithfulness of my God.
       That little smidgen of a bird, beautiful and feisty (yes, they have a bit of an attitude!), pops up just like
magic at the same time every year and when it does, my heart rejoices.  And marvels.  At how a little no-nothing poof of feathers with a super long beak can be so fascinating.  And how such a tiny creature can travel thousands of miles, across the Gulf of Mexico (or so I've been told), on those little tiny wings and still, unerringly, hone in on our little feeder in a nondescript town in a pretty nondescript state.  (I mean, sometimes I wonder, "Hey, bird!  What's wrong with you? Why don't you go to California or Florida??? Or even Galveston? Or Gulf Shores??   But Mabelvale??!!!
      Yet every year we have one or two birds at our feeder, right on time, faithfully.
      William Blake wrote a poem with these lines, "Little Lamb, who made thee?"
       When I see "our" hummingbird return each year, my heart rejoices because I know Who made that little bird and all his kith and kin.  That little bird isn't faithful per se; he's programmed.  He doesn't know I watch him and feed him and if he did, he probably wouldn't care.  (In fact, I don't even think he likes me...)   He certainly doesn't travel all this way just to bring joy to me.  He travels because instinct tells him when to travel.  And where to travel.  And that instinct comes from the One who created him.
        I don't know about you, but I need a faithful God.  I can't invent such a being or even imagine such a being but throughout my life, I have needed such a one and He has been there for me.  This is not to say that there haven't been times when I felt I was alone, abandoned, forsaken.  But during those relatively brief spells in my lifetime, there came a moment when things changed.  Like turning a dark corner and suddenly finding the exact thing that I needed to bring me out of my temporary despair.  Like someone knew where I was emotionally and had actually placed just the right message in front of my eyes.  Or provided just the right   shoulder to cry on.  Or even had given just the right amount of money out of nowhere.. Or ... yes, like someone had even gone to the trouble to direct a little tiny, ornery poof of feathers straight to  my feeder on a beautiful cloudless day in April.  Have you had an experience like that?  Where you feel even God has abandoned you and then suddenly you turn a corner and you stumble across the very thing that you need and it hits you, "God knew I needed that!! Only He could have done that for me!!"

        A week or so ago I started a new lady's Bible study, Stronger, by Angela Thomas.   This one speaks to my heart like few studies ever have.  This morning I only got through the first two pages of today's study and then, well, I just  got stuck there. I just kept reading and re-reading, highlighting, and underlining, thinking and praying and... smiling.   Like the hummingbird sipping at my feeder, I just kept drinking in the words on those two pages. She talks honestly about all the major struggles that we can face in life. But she dwells on the strength that God can provide.  Today's lesson was on the struggle called "loneliness".
       Loneliness.  We all have to deal with it.   No matter who we are, where we live, how many people walk with us - there will be times when we walk alone.  Even in a crowd, it is truly possible to feel alone.  Grief can do that to you. Disappointment can do that to you. Pain can do that to you. Heavy burdens can do that to you. There are a ton of things that can hedge a person in and make them feel all alone.
       And yet...  there is this - a place to camp as well as a stake to peg our tent to in times of storms:  Hebrews 13:5.  I will never leave you nor forsake you.
       Mrs. Thomas writes about this verse and then quotes from the Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest where he stated,    "The promise and guarantee in Hebrews 13:5 was spoken by God Himself."   
       By God Himself....
       The same God who made the hummingbird  also spoke those words.  For you. For me.
       Wuest goes on to say that the Greek word for "forsake" actually is a combination of three Greek words. From one word, kata, you get  the idea of rejection or helplessness.  The second word, leipo,  means "to leave".   But the third word, eg, is the one that interested me the most. It means someone who is feeling helpless or defeated " the midst of hostile circumstances."  What could be worse than feeling rejected and helpless while surrounded by hostility?    Sometimes in the South we express this ultimate type of abandonment by saying, "The whole world has turned against me!" (Or "agin" me, as my grandma used to say :).
       But God doesn't!  Wuest says the original Greek for this one tiny (fragile as a hummingbird's wing??) Bible verse actually reads like this:   "I will not, I will not, I will not let thee down, leave thee in the lurch, leave thee destitute, leave thee in straits and helpless, abandon thee.'"   (The emphasis is mine).
       As I read these words this morning,I  thought about Hebrews 13:5 and then watched the hummingbird at our window.   And it came to me quite powerfully that the God who caused that bird  to beat his  little wings a thousand times over, across land and sea,  just to get back to one feeder out of thousands - that this  same God is the One who has promised He will not abandon us, even in our most desolate times.
      And if He can cause a smidgen of a bird to travel thousands of miles in order to  land on a little speck of a  feeder in Mabelvale, Arkansas, then He Himself can certainly,  unerringly hone in on our fragile hearts just when we need Him the most.

1 comment:

  1. Liked your post. It's good to know there are people out there studying God's word, praying, seeking Him. I really like how you dig into the Bible through the language, the original words - don't stop!

    And you know, maybe that little bird is encouraged, as he flies those thousands of miles, to know that when he gets home his feeder will be filled and waiting for him. Maybe he's trusting you for that. :)

    I'm praying for you.