“The Chickadee and the Feast” by Traci Weldie of Wauwatosa, WI
It has been a long, cold winter in Wisconsin this year, especially for a family coming off 6 years of living in California! A few weeks ago, we had a terrible cold spell that found a significant part of the country suffering in sub-zero temperatures for days upon end. Some days, it was difficult just to get the door open.
It was on one of these very cold days that I noticed a house that I often drive by. This house has seven birdfeeders lined up in its front yard. I chuckled to myself, thinking there must be some serious bird lovers living there. I also wondered why all the bird feeders in the middle of winter? Don’t most birds migrate south during this time of year?
My question was soon answered during a local news report. The anchor was talking about chickadees and how they don’t migrate south. He proceeded to tell the audience that on these very cold days, a typical chickadee needs three times the amount of birdseed than he normally needs just to make it through the day. While this little news story was probably meant to fill some time on a light news days, God used this image to teach me about feasting with Him.
You see, as I struggle to figure out what this Christian walk is all about, I often find myself in cold, hard places, times when nothing seems to be going the way I had planned, or times when I wish I were doing something else. There are those days where the laundry is piled up past my waist, the kitchen floor has gunk all over it, I find a day-old banana stuck to the carpet in the basement, and my husband just called and said he won’t be home for dinner for the third night in a row. Those are the days that I think I don’t want to be a Christian – I want to yell and scream, I want to escape my responsibilities, and I want to just think about ME! Those are my cold, hard days.
But, in those times there is a refuge, a place where I can go to be filled. There is a source of nutrition that will sustain me and give me the strength to go on: God’s Word! The problem is that I am not like that chickadee in the freezing temperatures – I am not diligently “eating” three times the amount of food I normally need to get through a day.
Isaiah 55:10-11 says, “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
Just like rain (and even snow) waters the earth that leads to seeds, which in turn give bread, so it is that God’s Word feeds our souls and does a work in our lives. God’s Word is something that I can feast upon – it is what will get me through those days.
Psalm 119:103 says, “How sweet are thy words to my taste yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
I have to admit that for most of my life I just didn’t “get” passages like this – I couldn’t see how the Bible was sweeter than honey. I realized that I didn’t get it because I wasn’t reading it! When I actually started taking God’s words into my soul, He started working in my life – and it is sweet! God’s Word is also everything we need. Matthew 4 is the account of Jesus being tempted in the desert.
The Message puts Jesus’ response to Satan’s challenge to turn stones into bread: “Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: ‘It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.’ “
Some days, I am not taking in a steady stream of God’s words. I find so many ways to fill my time, and by the end of the day I feel like I have failed in so many ways; I have been an impatient mom, I have been an uncaring friend, I have not been a willing wife, and I have not even been able to get done what needed to be done that day. The contrast to the days in which I quietly taste the sweet words of my savior is amazing: my temper doesn’t flare up quite as easily, I find time to get all my work done, I willingly give of myself to my husband, and I rest easily at night. I have to ask myself why, then, do I not do this every day? Why are there days when I still choose to put something else before spending time in God’s Word? If I am being totally honest, I would chalk it up to two things: laziness and selfishness.
So, then, there are the days that are extra cold and extra hard. The lesson I learned from those little chickadees is that I need to be like them – take in three times the amount of God’s words I do on the good days. Think of those seven birdfeeders planted in the front yard – it is an overabundance of food for the chickadee. That is how available God’s Word is to us! We are so fortunate to live in a place where we can pick up a Bible at the local store or turn on the radio to hear a preacher. Not only do I have a Bible, but I have five different translations and even one with a pretty cover. I have no excuse to neglect feeding on God’s words daily.
When I find myself turning to the Bible, I am no longer just feeding, but I am enjoying the finest feast with a Lord who promises that His Word will accomplish what He desires! So instead of shivering in the cold, will you join in the feast?