A few mornings ago I woke to a remarkable sight.
As I rubbed my eyes awake, I stared in wonder at our front yard tree and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There was no mistaking their round shapes.
A dozen plump red robins were silently roosting on our tree branches in the early morning sun.
And in my neighbour’s yard…another tree full of robins. Who would have guessed?
And then I noticed the branches of each tree across the street were also loaded up with red-breasted life. Robins were everywhere!
Over the years I’ve occasionally seen one, or even a few, early April robins in the neighbourhood before the frost escaped. But not a “Round of Robins.” Totally unexpected.
(Yes, that is what a flock of robins is called…a Round of Robins.)
They stayed for just a few hours that morning, gorging themselves on dried tree berries. And then led by that mysterious compass within, they winged their way further north along their well-worn migratory path.
But something had clicked, and I got to thinking. These were not scrawny, ill-fed robins. Along the way, someone (or Someone) had prepared nutritious snacks for their multi-day, thousand-mile expedition.
My spirit suddenly snapped to attention. And I remembered…Jesus had a lot to say about birds. And what he said was very apropos for our pandemic days.
In that moment as I stood staring, those robins had morphed into heaven-sent messengers, serving to remind me of something Jesus said over two millennia ago.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: they do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn;
yet God feeds them. And how much valuable are you than the birds!” (Luke 12:22-25)
These are days of great worry, anxiety and deep fear for many. Day after sheltering-in-place day, the questions relentlessly surface…
Will my business survive? How will I make mortgage payments?
How long will I have to home-school my kids?
Is my elderly Mom safe in her long-term care home?
Will I catch the virus? Will I end up in the hospital?
Will they put me on a ventilator? Will I die?
Worry and anxiety are pervasive. For some, their fear is downright palpable.
And then I think of those robins, and about the ravens, Jesus referenced to his disciples.
And then, how about sparrows? Didn’t Jesus say,
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6-7)
Seems to me, with the ravens, the sparrows, and more recently the robins, Jesus is driving home some pivotal truths of the Christian faith.
If God provides for the robins, the ravens, and the sparrows, he will provide for you and me.
If God sees every robin, every raven, and every sparrow, and does not forget them, how much more will he remember and attend to you and me?
We are not forgotten by God!
If the robins, the ravens and the sparrows are important to God and are fed by him, how much more important to God are you and I who are created in his image?
No wonder Jesus looks us straight in the eye and says, “Do not worry about your life. Don’t be afraid. I’ve got your back. You are my child now and forever. In fact, I know exactly how much hair (or lack thereof) rests on that head of yours!”
The thought of losing possessions, losing retirement funds, losing control, losing a parent, even losing our life in this COVID-19 maelstrom, it can all be very scary.
Unless we have developed the spiritual habit of seeing God’s hand right before our eyes, feeding the robins, the ravens, and the sparrows.
This spring look for the birds. They have a lot to teach us.