I notice them gathering even before the sun appears. The birds. The hungry, cold birds needing food to give warmth and energy in these below-average temperatures.
Taking courage, I walk out the door to the back deck in my robe and house slippers to spread seed on rails brushed clear of snow, I can’t even get to the feeder in the yard without donning tall garden boots. They are my only shoes that are higher than the drifts.
While they scatter at my appearance, the birds return soon. They are hungry. They flutter back and forth there all day long. The peaceful mourning dove, the tiny wrens and sparrows, the bright red cardinals, the bossy blue jays. I am delighted by the sighting of two red-wing blackbirds. Even the starlings come seeking a little something.
I put out more food late at night for the early birds tomorrow.
I worry about them, yet I remember that God created them to endure with their fluffy feathers (who doesn’t love a down comforter on a cold night). They sit and eat in their ruffled up way to manage this extreme cold snap we are having in what most call a southern state.
A verse comes to mind. “[God] provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call.”
God provides for all His creatures. And I put out seed for birds and dress little dog in a sweater and booties to go out so his feet won’t be frosted.
God provides for people. And I help my neighbor who needs someone to care for her daughter in the early morning hours.
God provides for people we care about. And I text my friend who had surgery this week, praying for her recovery, like many have done for us.
God provides what we need. And two sweet daughters-of-my-heart send someone to clear my drive so I am no longer housebound in the deep, deep snow.
God provides shelter and daily bread. And I have food and warmth and Sweet William is being cared for by medical professionals who know what he needs.
God provides mostly through . . . us.
Because we were never meant to live this beautiful life alone. Not islands unto ourselves. No self-made men or women who don’t need anyone else.
God created the earth and all that is in it to work together, to move like a well-oiled machine. Sun warming earth to bring forth food. Moon moving tides in and out. Honey bees taking pollen to flower after flower. Plants to grow and produce seed that is planted again.
The beauty of it all is just astounding when I think of it. And that I get to be part of the process is even more amazing. That the greatest of all, the Ancient of days, the One who is from everlasting to everlasting, who is complete in Himself and has no need of anything, the I AM – He has called me, has called you, to be part of His work. He invites us to come along beside Him in what He does.
Jesus’ teaching about the Good Samaritan, His admonition for us to love one another, His laying down His very life for mankind is the beautiful demonstration of the hand extended to one’s brother or sister.
We are made for each other. We’ve been given gifts and talents that are needed by someone else in our little corner of the world.
I love the story of the woman who brought her expensive perfume and poured it out on Jesus. When criticism arose, Jesus responded lovingly, “She did what she could.” It was what she had in her hand and she offered it to the One she loved. She did what she could.
What is in your hand today? I have bird seed in my hand and a warm sweater and a prayer and a word here and there. I will do what I can.