It had been a long time since I heard God speak in such a clear, unmistakable way. It took me by surprise. Of all things He could have used to give me His message, He chose a bird. A plain, small backyard sparrow delivered a message that I would never forget.
It was 2002 and I was at home with a small baby and an unemployed husband. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 2001, my husband’s job was eliminated only three months after the birth of our firstborn. Our savings were draining fast and I was afraid.
I knelt down by the window of our family room and cried out to God. For the first time since my husband lost his job, I was honest in my prayer: “I’m scared.” “How are we going to pay for the mortgage?”
Was God aware of the price of diapers and baby formula?
As I finished “informing” Almighty God of all that was going on in our lives and our imminent needs, I felt a strong need to be quiet and wait for Him to speak: “Please talk to me, Father! I need to hear your voice.”
As silence filled the room and several moments passed by, I was about to give up when I heard it:
I looked up and there was the sparrow, sitting on the lounge chair outside my window. It seemed to be looking straight at me.
“Look at the birds of the air, Patricia. They do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet I feed them daily. Are you not worth much more than they?”
This happened over ten years ago and I’ll never forget it. I often see sparrows lining up on electric wires and remember His question:
“Are you not worth more than these?”
This is a very important question we must answer. More than ever before during these unstable, scary times we live in. With everything that is going on in our Nation and the world, we, God’s children must decide once and for all: Does God still love us and is in control of the universe… or has He decided to take some time off from the job?
It sounds funny, but honestly, have you taken a look at social media lately? Is it me or there’s a subtle panic and fear subverting Christians like never before?
Whether it’s ISIS, GMOs in our food, the government or our next meal, should we not ask our hearts this question, before panicking and filling our days with more and more information (and, invariably, less and less of God):
“Is Yahweh, the God of the Covenant, still on His Throne?”
There’s nothing wrong with being proactive about our wellbeing. There’s certainly nothing wrong with crying out to God in our times of need. But we must tell our hearts the truth that Jesus taught us in this passage, undeniably one of His most powerful teachings:
“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (vs. 31-33)
Jesus was saying that we’re never to act like pagans, who are constantly striving, looking to fulfill their physical needs on their own strength. Rather, His disciples should be concerned about the things of God: His kingdom and righteousness. Worrying excessively only serves to show that we have “little faith” (v.30) of what God can and will do. Like the birds, we must work and do our part by going where God wants us to go, do what He calls us to do.
But first and foremost, we must fill our hearts with His Kingdom and His righteousness… and then let God be God.
The job didn’t come right away. As a matter of fact, my husband was out of a permanent job for 18 months at that time. But I’m here to witness to all who read this blog: We have never missed a meal. God provided for each one of our needs, even if at the eleventh hour.
While walking alongside Him through that desert and many others I’ve faced since then, “seeking His kingdom and righteousness” has become my main focus.
And just as He promised to that bird that joyfully chirped to a distressed young mother on a cold winter morning years ago, I chose to believe He would take care of all our needs and protect us through the hard times we’d invariably face.
Yes. My mind’s made up. I choose to trust Him and Him alone.
Because governments rise and fall. Economies go up and down. Terrorism is here to stay until Jesus comes back to establish His kingdom on this sin-ridden, fallen world.
However, my God? He never tires to watch over me.
He hasn’t left His throne and never will.