A few years ago, I vacationed at a remote cottage, three miles from the nearest home, surrounded only by vineyards and rolling hills. It was a true place of rest – no cell service, no distractions from the outside world. In the stillness, I sat on the back porch of the cottage, the only sound breaking the silence was the hum of the birds, the crackle of the leaves brushing in the wind. I heard a squirrel scurrying about. The brush concealed the culprit, but the constant rustling revealed someone hard at work.The contrast between these two characters suddenly became very apparent.
Squirrels. I rarely see them “sitting”. They are constantly going, preparing, scurrying, storing up for the future. They are industrious, productive, focused— but sometimes their busyness leads to a future they do not experience (think how many squirrels you have seen smashed in the middle of the road).
In contrast, consider birds. Most often they go unseen, yet their sweet song is a reminder that they are close by. Birds strike me as such content creatures. They sit and hum their song, while on the alert to provide for their young. Their nest is always looked after and cared for. They are purposeful in their pursuit, deliberate in their movements. The fact that they “stop and sit” allows for them to see what is necessary to provide for their family and add to the security of the nest. A lock of hair, piece of gum, leaves, brush… they are meticulous and cunning, yet playful and free, bursting with a song in their heart.
I look at squirrels and I wonder why they toil, why they strive so fiercely, why they don’t stop like the birds. I wonder why they cross the street, only to turn around on the other side and run back. Then I look at my own life and I see that oftentimes I resemble the life of the squirrel much more than the bird. I’m busy. I’m productive… but at the end of the day, what do I have to show for it? A tired, distracted mind… longing for the peace and quiet that I threw away in the name of maximization.
This memory came to mind as I was reflecting this past week on the all-knowing nature of God. Jesus specifically calls the image of the bird to mind in Matthew 6:25-26,
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more than they?”
What a beautiful picture of God’s provision. Psalm 33:15 says the Lord fashions the hearts of all men and understands all of their works. Psalm 139 reveals how completely God knows every aspect of my life – my sitting down, my rising up, my thoughts, my path, all of my ways. Verse 17 even talks about the thoughts God has toward me. What a tremendous thought – the Creator of the Universe is not only acquainted with all my ways, but thinks about me! He provides for all of my needs. May I stop and rest today in the knowledge of God’s care and provision for me. May I seek to know God, the One who knows all of me!
Becky Hand works in Commercial Real Estate as a land broker and is the Spiritual Development Chair for 4Word in Houston. She co-leads 4Word’s weekly Bible study that meets in the Spring Branch area. Becky is married to her husband, Peter, and they are expecting their first child in April 2019. She loves running, hiking and reading.