Have you ever been praying for something or worried about something and God uses an illustration to teach you an important lesson? God often speaks to me through nature. Often, when I am feeling stressed, I love to get outdoors and admire His beautiful creation. I am often seen with camera or phone in hand waiting for the next photogenic animal. I am always reminded of two lessons in particular where God taught me a lesson through nature.
When we were in our mid-twenties, God moved our little family from my familiar hometown in Ohio to Roanoke, VA to be youth pastors. My first son was only six months old when we moved and we had no family nearby. We were living in a two bedroom townhouse surrounded by mountains. It was the first time I ever was away from home and I was very homesick. We weren’t doing very well financially and I often would get stressed out because I didn’t want to leave my baby to go to work and daycare would take my whole paycheck leaving us with nothing. We didn’t realize it then, but God was teaching us to trust Him for every need to be met.
The front of our townhouse faced a mountain and I always loved to stare out my front door and look at the beautiful nature God created. On one particular day, I noticed a turtle crossing the street. Being the animal lover I was, I began to worry that this little guy was going to be hit by a car. So I did what any young, animal loving mother would do; I prayed that the turtle would be safe and not be hit. Car after car passed and missed him. Now being a turtle, it took awhile for him to get anywhere fast. I would play with my son, clean, and go back to the door to see if he was still alright; all the while praying that God would keep him safe. As I checked on the turtle again an hour later, a car was coming. But this time, the man stopped, picked up the turtle, and gently placed him on the other side of the road. At that moment I heard God speak to me and tell me, “See how I answered your prayer and took care of this turtle? How much more will I answer your prayers and take care of you?” At that moment, my eyes filled up with tears as this I learned a very big lesson: God will provide for my family.
Another time a really bad storm was coming and I was home all alone and seven months pregnant. Ever since I was in a tornado when I was younger, I have had a hate/hate relationship with severe storms. I went into our basement where our family room was and waited for the storm to pass. I was so nervous. But as I looked out of my sliding glass doors to make sure no tornadoes were coming, I noticed a little sparrow pirched on the telephone wires attached to our house. I sat there and watched him prepare for the high wind and heavy rain. I wondered why this little fellow didn’t go back to his nest or didn’t take shelter under something more secure than being out in the open. (Poor thing had to be my life lesson) As the wind and rain picked up, this little bird would literally huncker down, close his little eyes and hold on tightly to the wire. I couldn’t pull away from the sliding glass door. I thought about opening the door a little to invite him in, but I didn’t think my husband would like seeing a bird flying around the house when he got home. As the lightning struck, and the thunder rolled, this little bird was held safe in the Father’s hand. When the storm ended, he shook himself off and flew away. I was completely amazed by his bravery and God’s loving care for this little bird. My fear of storms diminished after witnessing this little sparrow.
Matthew 6:26 was quickly brought to my mind:
26 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?
When the storm came, this sparrow didn’t run (or fly) around worried about where to go, or what he was going to do. He simply held on and rode out the storm. Isn’t that what we should do when we are faced with the storms of life?
So often when storms begin to rage in our lives, we begin to find ourselves panicking and worrying about what to do or if God really will take care of us. We need to be like the sparrow in my illustration and hold on and believe that God is our help and protector. The sparrow had to ride out the storm knowing that he was going to be alright. We need to be more like him. We need to get it deep down in our hearts the love and care of our Father. If He takes care of nature and watches over it, how much more will He do the same for us?
Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 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? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one [a]cubit to his [b]stature?
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not [c]arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
I want to encourage you today to begin believing God loves you and He cares about you. He will provide for every need you will ever have. He may not give you all of your wants, but He will surely give you all of your needs. Begin to meditate on the goodness of God so that you can find joy in today.