Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Capable Hands

Isaiah 41:10

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Don’t you just love when God gives you real life illustrations of heavenly principles? These moments of divine intervention are a welcome intrusion into my hectic life and always accomplish exactly what God intends – they send me directly to Him in prayer where one or more of several revelations never fail to take place:

 I learn more about His incomparable character,

 I’m reassured of His unconditional and sacrificial love,

 I’m convicted of sinful behavior, or

 Straggling earthly views I still have are given a good godly overhaul.

No matter the reason for God’s visual aids, I’m never the same when I leave His throne room. He changes my heart to look more like His and I’m better equipped to bring glory and honor to His name. Here’s a perfect example:

My family and I recently took a day trip to Land Between The Lakes, a national recreational area located in Golden Pond, Kentucky. Land Between The Lakes is over 170,000 acres of wildlife, history, and outdoor recreational opportunities, enveloped within 300 miles of natural shoreline. A day trip is not nearly enough time to soak up all the goodness the area has to offer, so we planned for just two activities that seemed exciting to us – a drive through the elk and bison prairie followed by a visit to the Woodlands Nature Station. The prairie was fun, but I couldn’t wait to get to the Nature Station. As we drove down the long, windy road toward our last stop, I had high-hopes of trying out my new camera and getting up close and personal with amazing wildlife such as the great horned owl, the red wolf and the bald eagle.

As we entered the Nature Station, a man tagging hummingbirds for tracking flight patterns caught my eye and curiosity sent me walking in his direction. He didn’t have much to say, but instead guided me back outside. Taking my hand, and to my great delight, he gently placed a ruby-throated hummingbird into it. Emerald green feathers adorned the delicate creature’s back and a perfect iridescent ruby red circle decorated his throat. I watched in awe as he nestled into my open palm. The seconds ticked by and I could feel his tiny heart beating against my flesh. “They don’t usually do this – stay there that long, that is,” the man said, seeming surprised. Time stood still as we both waited – and waited – until the hummingbird finally flew away.

The experience lasted only a minute or two, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was so special I knew it had to be from God. After a trip to the throne room that day, this is what He placed on my heart:

• “Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10

Have you ever watched a hummingbird fly? Their wings flap 40 to 80 times per second making it virtually impossible for the human eye to perceive anything more than a blur as they whip past. They have three flight speeds: 30 mph normally, 50 mph during escape and 63 mph during a dive. Their resting heart rate is 250 beats per minute and can reach 1,200 beats per minute during feeding. While these fast-paced little birds do get some rest at night, it’s unnatural for them to be still. It’s also sometimes unnatural for us to be still. If you’re anything like me, you’re busy from the moment you wake up until you lay your head down at night. Have you ever found your keys in the refrigerator or the milk in the pantry? Have you ever forgotten your best friend’s birthday two years in a row? I have! Since I married three years ago and took on the challenge of helping my husband raise his twins, my memory for all things important – that I had taken pride in for so long – went out the window. The first year we were married, I forgot to pick the kids up from school one day! (Before you judge me, it was an early release day J). Life can get hectic and leave our minds reeling and over-flowing to the point that we forget even the most important things. But, no matter how busy we get, we should never forget the most important thing of all – spending time daily with our Heavenly Father praying, reading His word, and listening. Look again at Psalm 46:10. “Be still and know that I am God.” It’s a command. There’s no greater privilege than knowing God and no greater tragedy than failing to develop a relationship with Him, and amazingly, the Creator and Ruler of the universe wants to spend time with us. If you’re not already doing so, slow down, get quiet, be still and spend time with Your heavenly Father. He’s waiting – with His palms open wide.

• “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee.” Psalm 55:22a

Do you know that a hummingbird weighs just one-eighth of an ounce and their average length is only 3 and ½ inches long? One thing I was keenly aware of when the hummingbird was sitting in my palm was how light he was – he was practically weightless. And, the same is true for us. The heavy burdens we carry every day are weightless to God. Pastor Adrian Rogers used to tell this story. “There was a man carrying a heavy load of grain down a country road. Another man in a horse-drawn wagon saw him and said, ‘Mister, do you need a ride?’ So the man walking got in the wagon, but kept the load of grain on his shoulder. The wagon driver said, ‘Man, put that down and relax!’ But the man answered, ‘Oh, no. It’s enough to ask you to carry me without having you carry this, too.’” Have you ever said something like that to the Lord? Have you ever said, maybe not in words, but in action, “Lord, I’ll let you save me, but I’ll carry my own burdens?” When we try to carry our own burdens, burdens we were never meant to carry, the results are often anxiety, depression, despair, and even sickness and infirmity. God wants us to cast our cares on him, but often we continue to bear them ourselves even when we say we trust Him. To cast our burdens on God means that by faith and prayer, we commit ourselves to His promise that He works all things out for good. Is your heart burdened today? Place your cares in God’s hands – He can carry the load.

• “…for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” Matthew 6:8

So, I asked God, “Why did the hummingbird stay so long in my hand?” And, I believe He answered me, saying, “Because he felt safe and secure. He knew he was in capable hands.” When I was single, I lived under the faulty presumption that when I married, I’d never feel lonely again, that my husband would anticipate and meet all of my needs, completely understand and appreciate my deepest thoughts, and welcome all of my quirky habits. I not only placed a tall order, but an impossible one on him. He’s a human being – he grows weary, gets aggravated and cannot read my mind. Of all the insight God gave me into the hummingbird experience, this one has lingered in my mind the longest. As I think about the hummingbird nestling himself into my hand, I see a perfect illustration of all that God has been teaching me since the day I got married: only He can meet and satisfy my needs.

Just as the hummingbird remained in my hand, we should desire to linger in God’s presence and never want to be anywhere else. He longs to spend time with you, talk to you and love on you through His word. He wants to hear about your hurts, fears, dreams and worries. He wants to carry your burden no matter how heavy or light the load and He longs to meet your deepest needs. Beautiful daughter of God, from where I sit, there’s no better place to be than in Your Father’s capable hands.

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