Sometimes I think creatives like me have a extra talent for worry. Our tendency to be sensitive and dramatic means we can imagine all sorts of scenarios in which the world comes to an end in the worst possible way. Or maybe that’s every one of us, especially now in 2021, in the middle of a pandemic. And it’s tornado season here in Kentucky, and—fill in the blank with your worry of the day. Yet Jesus said in Matt. 6:26-34, “Don’t worry. Look at the birds….” Maybe we can learn a lesson or two from them.
Keep Us Safe From the Tomato
The wind plastered summer leaves flat across the windows, and the rumbling of a train assaulted my ears. “A tornado! Let’s get into the bathroom!” I hoisted my two-year-old onto my hip and ran for our best shelter.
We huddled under a blanket in the bathtub and prayed for safety. After the train sound ceased and we emerged from the house, I stood in the doorway, shocked. The twister had demolished the house across the street. It also destroyed the roofs on each side of our house, but on our roof, only one shingle was lifted. The tornado bounced over us for some reason, and I was so thankful. It was June of 1996 when a series of devastating tornadoes hit Kentucky.
For weeks after the tornado, my daughter prayed, “Dear God, please keep us safe from the tomato.” We tried not to laugh, but each time we remembered how God did keep us safe. It is by the mercy of God we rise every morning to live another day.
Surely, we all have times like these in our lives when we know God protected us, healed us, or prevented a tragic accident. Too often we forget how many times God has rescued us from trouble. And for most of us, this is the norm, so we shouldn’t worry about things that will probably never happen. On the other hand, it would have been foolish if I had ignored the warning signs and gone outside to watch instead of running to the bathroom for safety.
God Takes Care of the Birds
Matthew 6:25-27 (NIV) Therefore 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 store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
A few years back scientists discovered that birds may have a “sixth sense” through which they know a storm is coming and leave their nests for a safer location. God provides for the birds in many ways. He gives them warning to leave the area when a tornado is coming. This is a great example of how God works. He gives us guidance, but then we need to act. If the birds ignored the sixth sense, they would be destroyed by the strong winds and storms. Also God has arranged for the birds to find food without sowing or reaping. They don’t need to worry. Neither do we, but we do need to take action sometimes.
God is gracious and merciful. I don’t claim to understand the problem of suffering. For some reason, my now 91-year-old mother got COVID and survived, while younger people died. But this much I know: as the people of God, seeking the kingdom of God, we need to be merciful and compassionate, helping those who suffer and choosing to trust instead of worry. And when we do suffer, God helps us through people who show us that same mercy and compassion—or maybe even more.
Any stories of God’s provision or protection to share? I’d love to hear them in the comments!
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