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Rockin' with the Robins and God! - Part 2

Posted Aug 20 2009 10:30pm

Practical_Christianity column

In part one of this two-part series, I shared a couple of spiritual lessons I learned while watching a robin family nesting on my front porch. The parallels between God and the high-flying parents, that took such good care of their nestlings, unveiled themselves in the similarities of their roles as providers and protectors. Today, I want to share the third and final lesson I gleaned from my observation post at the kitchen-window. Let's pick up where I left off last time . . . the snake attack!


"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)

Flying snake I didn't so much get this revelation from the robins, but rather from my reaction to the unfortunate attack on their happy home. Immediately upon discovering that a snake was wreaking all the havoc, I ran out the front door. I don't mind snakes, but the thought of handling one is creepy. However, despite my usual queasiness when I think of touching the scaly critters, I was ready to grab a certain snake by the tail and hurl him across the yard; no questions asked! In the few seconds it took me to get out the door and on the scene, the snake had slithered away. Although the immediate danger had passed, baby birds were now scattered around my yard; I saw one catching his breath under my car.

I ran into the house to grab a cloth and then started my "graceful" attempts to gather the traumatized baby into the safety of my hands. After a few failed attempts I secured the tiny creature in the small red rag. With the help of my son and a foot ladder, the baby once again sat in his cozy nest. I found the second baby and, after quite a chase through my yard (and the neighbors drive-way), I soon cradled the second refugee in the palm of my hands. Putting baby number two back in the nest didn't go as well as the first and I found myself standing on a precarious ladder juggling baby birds! Bottom line, the baby's free will took over and they launched themselves from their nest and into a dangerous world; I reluctantly let them go.

I'm not comparing myself to God, but I did get a glimpse of how God must feel as He watches us go through our earthly struggles. I placed the small birds back in the safety of their nest so they would have hope and a future. God's providence keeps us in the palm of His hands, much like my efforts to save the baby robins. He does not wish for us to experience things we are not yet ready for. But, just like the babies chose to abandon the safety of the nest I had, once again, secured for them after the snake attack, we often exercise our free will and abandon God's efforts to keep us safe in the shadow of his divine umbrella. As my babies scattered in different directions for a second time, I couldn't help but feel the pinch in my heart that God must grapple with when He watches us scatter despite His providential efforts in our lives.

Just like I can never know the mind of a robin and why Crazy Robin originally wanted to peck her way into my house, we can never know the mind of God and why He is mindful of us (Psalm 8:4). After weeks of watching my robin family, I grew genuinely fond of them. Well, God is much more than fond of us; He loves us with a depth that we will only fully understand when we are worshiping at the foot of His throne in heaven. But even though we are not able to completely perceive His divine love for us during this lifetime, we must never doubt it.

I know this sounds silly, but if it had been possible for me to communicate with that feathered family, I would have done so and followed the progress of the fledglings. But, you want to know something wonderful? As God looks down from heaven and watches our adventures, He IS able to communicate with us. I couldn't become a robin, but God could and DID become man in the form of His son Jesus! Jesus was able to show and tell us about God's love. The power of God's love parallels the power I exhibited with the baby birds when I scooped them up after the snake attack. I probably scared them like God sometimes scares us. But, like I carried those robins in the palms of my hands, God does the same for us. He deserves our reverent respect, but we also need to remember His provision, His protection, and His providence, because He knows the plans he has for us.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are you ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thought than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9 NRSV)

God rocks We may never understand the way the God provides for or protects us. We may never see His providence until the necessity of it has long past, but we can know He is always watching us from His big window in heaven. Even though God's ways are beyond our comprehension, we can get a glimpse of His loving heart from my experience with the robins.

It all comes down to trust. The baby robins who scattered all over my yard didn't realize they could trust my motives when I placed them back in their nest. When we fail to trust God, we hinder His ability to provide for and protect us, and we undo His providential efforts in our lives. So, from now on when you see a robin hopping around hunting worms or building a nest, think of God and remember that what a joy it is rockin' with the robins and God!

Shona-writer's page

(c)2009 Shona Neff

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