I hear her happy trill, her chirp, her song. She perches with her tiny claws at the bird feeder I hung for her. Unaware that I watch from the window, she flits about with exuberance, and bursts forth with a loud song from her tiny body:
“Come see, come see! The food is still here! We won’t have to forage in the cold, damp undergrowth! We can feast at the feeder!”
Sparrow cousins and cardinal and chickadee friends hear her call and fly to join her exorbitant feast. She flutters about on her perch to make room for their arrival.
And she has no idea what delight I feel as I watch her. Me, the human, peaking through the window above, warmed with quiet joy at her joy, delighted that I could meet her winter-morning need. I am filled with pleasure at her pleasure.
She wouldn’t dream in her little head that she should repay me. She doesn’t even know that:
- I freely supplied her food because I love her and want to care for her.
- I don’t expect any sort of payment — what could weak, little her give big me?
- My “payment” is the joy I receive when I supply her unasked-for needs.
- I delight in her delighted and happy surprise at my provision.
She could have shunned my provided feeder. She could have chosen to dig among the rotting leaves of the nearby woods instead. She could have clung in pride to her branch and refused to come to the feast. But because she came near, and trusted, and chose my provision I received personal delight.
My heart marvels at the correlation between her delight/my delight and my delight/God’s delight. Do you remember what our Lord says to us through Zephaniah?
“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
As you trust the Lord, as you seek Him and follow Him, He rejoices over you with gladness. This is no impersonal or detached response — God exults over you with loud singing and shouts of joy! As you come to the feeder, instead of clutching in distrust or disdain to your self-reliant branch, He rejoices over you with gladness! It goes like this:
- He provides
- you receive with unhindered trust
- you delight
- He delights!
Or, you could choose to refuse His provision and go your own way, determined to satisfy yourself with temporary, paltry substitutes. Oh dear friends, this day choose Him! Yes, food can be found in the world of your damp undergrowth, but the feast God spreads is a provision of undreamed delight. He freely gives to you because He loves you and wants to care for you. His provision nourishes you in ways you could never imagine when you are content to pick among the rotting leaves.
This very day, trust that He is the mighty warrior who will save you from whatever you face that frightens you. Believe His words to you and be quieted by His strong love for you. Bow in amazement that He rejoices, with shouts of joy, over you.
Fly to the true feast!