God’s not-so-random acts

ROCKWALL/HEATH, TX (Jan. 26, 2015) A friend of mine has experienced God’s very present help in trouble. But after seeing so many signs, she might have a problem getting people to believe her.

The past few years have been filled with sorrow for Ann’s family. Her husband faced a business calamity that hung over their lives like a stationary cold-front threatening to shut everything down. Meanwhile, her parents’ health declined and they died within months of one another.

The story of Job came to mind for those of us standing with our friends during their one-after-another losses. But we observed God’s kindness as well. Noticeably, each sad event seemed to happen at a much better time than might have otherwise occurred.

Photo by Valerie Beeson-Lyles

But some vivid assurances of God’s comfort came in the form of birds. On so many of Ann’s darkest days, a cardinal would arrive and perch in view. She couldn’t recall ever seeing them up close before this time. In fact, she called them redbirds at first, uncertain of their name. The repeated visitations provided hope; she felt the Lord was sending the birds to show His watchful care.

Though Ann thanked God for signs of His presence during this long season, she sometimes wondered whether He would really use birds this way. Her question made me recall at least one Bible story.

In the Old Testament account of Elijah, God used ravens to deliver meat and bread to the discouraged prophet. The birds delivered his meals twice-a-day for some time (1 Kings 17:6).

Another prophet, Jeremiah, wrote: “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him” (Lamentations 3:25, ESV). The apostle Paul later described the God “who comforts us in all our affliction . . . .” (2 Corinthians 1:4).

After burying her father, Ann’s family returned home to find their dog’s sickness would require putting it “to sleep.” Later, she stayed in her prayer chair, too depressed to get up. Then, she noticed a chirping sound. She jumped up knowing what she would see when she opened the window shutters.

On the day that I heard this last cardinal story from Ann, I sat outside on a patio sofa, marveling over God’s encouragement to her. And I wished for some of that for myself.

Then, a bird alighted on a chair right in front of me. Equally amazing, my bird-crazy dog stayed beside me, spell-bound. We gazed in silent wonder for a long half-minute, until the bird—a cardinal—flew away.

By Blue Ribbon News guest columnist Patti Richter of Heath. Patti is a journalist who writes news and feature stories, book reviews and more for Christian publications. Read her Good Faith columns at BlueRibbonNews.com. 

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