You see, compared with where we lived previously, our new home is definitely out in the country. And as I have gone walking each day, I have found myself encountering an astounding array of God’s creatures. Some of these have been domestic. Given that we are literally surrounded by farms in every direction, it is not surprising that among those animals I have seen on my daily walks are horses, cows, goats, pigs, chickens, dogs, and cats.
But to this I can now add an assortment of wild animals as well. I have been blessed to encounter deer, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, groundhogs, rabbits, squirrels, and yes, even skunks.
Fortunately, I have yet to encounter a bear, although one was spotted and photographed by some local residents last week as he crossed the road about four miles away. If I ever do encounter one, a new world record for how fast anyone has ever run a mile will likely be set. I know this because I will be the one to set it!
Among the birds I have encountered in my walks are turkeys, geese, ducks, crows, cranes, buzzards, and ospreys. I have yet to see an eagle, but understand that they do inhabit the trees surrounding the large TVA reservoir about two miles from our house. It may just be a matter of time, then, until I spot one.
Reptiles have now included terrapins and turtles (one of which was a snapping turtle), and several snakes. One of the latter was even a timber rattler out sunning himself by a barbed-wire fence. Needless to say, I gave him a wide birth.
But my favorite creature has come to be one I see quite regularly. Here while back, my mother-in-law, with whom we live, found a wounded song bird and nursed it back to health. Though it now lives with a handicapped leg, it still gets along just fine. In fact, it chooses to dwell near the house.
Why? Because, along with around forty or fifty other regulars, it appears to know that several bird-feeders will always be full of bird food. It also seems to know that a bird bath sitting nearby will always contain water. What is more, multiple bird houses hang in the trees adjacent to our house.
In short, this little bird has apparently concluded that it has now found a veritable bird paradise. And it has prudently decided to revel in the goodness of life here under the watchful care of my mother-in-law. So much so that you know when it is nearby because you can hear the song of joy it sings as it celebrates its blessings.
Jesus once referenced the birds of the air and how they are cared for by our Heavenly Father. In the New Testament Gospel of Matthew (chapter 6, verses 25 and 26), He states:
“I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air: They do not sow or reap or gather into barns—and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
I have reflected a lot lately on this very teaching. As I look back over my life, I wonder now why I spent so much time worrying over so many things – and especially inconsequential things!
Michel de Montaigne once satirically noted that his life had been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened. How right he was!
The truth is that my life has been filled with many blessings as I have been continuously watched over and cared for by the loving hand of God! And this has happened even when that hand was unseen and/or unacknowledged. For any and all present and prior provision on my Lord’s part, I am now more grateful than ever. For any and all present and prior lack of appreciation on my part, I am now more regretful than ever.
Perhaps you too can look back and see the loving hand of God at work in your life. Perhaps you too have not always been as appreciative of this as you should. Today would be a good day to talk to Him about that. Today would be a good day to join the Psalmist, as I have done, and declare anew: “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His loving devotion endures forever,”
He then goes on to repeat one phrase over and over again all throughout this 43 verse Psalm, “Give thanks to the LORD for His loving devotion and His wonders to the sons of men.” As he does, he intersperses it with gentle reminders of the Lord’s loving devotion, as He satisfies the thirsty, fills the hungry, saves the lost, protects the endangered, lifts up the afflicted, etc…
The Psalmist then leaves us with this concluding admonition: “Let him who is wise pay heed to these things and consider the loving devotion of the LORD.”
A little bird with a game leg and a big voice has taught me a good lesson. He has pointed me to the Word of God where I have been reminded to celebrate God’s goodness to me! May I be so wise! May I be so grateful! May I be so joyful!
SCRIPTURE SOURCES: https://biblehub.com/bsb/matthew/6.htm;
QUOTE: This quotation has been variously ascribed to Montaigne and to others. Cf.: https://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/10/04/never-happened/.
NOTE: In a moment of irony, as I sat on the porch typing this blog post, I glanced up to see an Eastern Wild Turkey crossing the road right in front of our house! How's that for a "Tennessee Bird Walk"?!