We’ve had an up and down week, my friendly young lady and me. She has managed to breach the netting protecting my redcurrants on a couple of occasions, including once while I was sitting in the garden watching her. She doesn’t like being caught, but despite her misdemeanours waits on the step for me every morning. She knows I come down to make tea at 06:20 and she has come to expect me to bring food out to her while the kettle is boiling.
She flies away across the lawn as I approach the step, but gradually comes closer and closer as I offer her food. I guess it must take a considerable amount of courage to approach a large ungainly human who is rooted to the earth and constrained by his inability to fly. We are so very different she and I. While she may be driven by a desire to feed, she is the only bird in the garden brave enough to come close to me. As a consequence she gets to eat first, and she gets to eat best. I know she likes my wife’s shortbread, so some tasty shortbread morsels are a special treat for my special lady. The other birds get the shortbread crumbs she leaves behind – if they are lucky.
When I was out in a somewhat damp garden last Saturday morning feeding the blackbird I was suddenly aware of God’s presence in the garden too. Like the blackbird He was waiting for me, but for a different reason. Like the blackbird it seems as if God was willing me to wake up and get myself downstairs. He has waited for me before in the garden. Just as I get pleasure from the experience of a brave hungry bird practically feeding out of my hand, so God yearns for His children to draw close to Him, hungry and ready to feed.
God may be much bigger than us, very different to us, and impossibly hard to understand, but for some strange reason that is beyond our limited human experience, God finds pleasure in our company. He quickly forgets our misdemeanours. He waits patiently for us to approach Him, and then as we come close He feeds us so that we will grow. And day after day after day He is there, eagerly waiting for us to enter into His presence. He delights in us. Just as I delight in my relationship with a fickle female blackbird who is constantly hungry. And I am challenged once again about how hungry I am for more of God.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. (Lamentations 3: 23-26 NIV)