I love looking at birds. God’s imagination must have been working overtime when He created them. His delight in creating such variety is evident. There are so many varieties in amazing colors designed just for their habitat and food source. Summer and fall migration are some of the best times to bird watch because so many species are moving through the area. Many birds that can’t be seen any other time of the year can be found during migration.
Every year God surprises me with a fun new bird in my backyard. Several years ago I was delighted to see an eastern towhee. The next year I spotted a veery and the next an ovenbird. This year I’ve heard a red-bellied woodpecker calling from various yards around my house. How fun to then see it eating from my feeder. What a delight to see such a beautiful bird so close.
Like many birders, I keep a life list. This list contains birds I have seen, along with when and where I saw them. Currently that list stands at 753. I also keep a list of birds I have seen in my backyard. This contains an amazing 44 different species – and that’s right in the midst of urban sprawl.
Why do I do this? Besides revealing a remarkable variety of birds in my backyard, the list serves as a reminder that my Heavenly Father loves me and delights in surprising me. God is not a taskmaster seeking only blind obedience to His every desire. Instead, He is a loving Father who wants the best for His children. Obedience is important, but it is not the only purpose of God’s relationship with us. Just like good earthly parents, God not only wants to develop our character, He wants to bless us and fill us with joy. As a result, every year I look forward with anticipation to what I will see in my yard. And every year God surprises and blesses me.
When Joshua led Israel across the Jordan, God instructed one man from each tribe to pick up a stone from the middle of the river and use it to create an altar. This altar would serve as a memorial and reminder to future generations of how God provided for His people, how He chose them to bless (Joshua 4.1-8). In order for future generations to remember, the current generation has to, itself, remember. If it doesn’t, it will have nothing to pass on.
My backyard list is one of the ways I remember that God delights in me, cares about the details of my life, and has not forgotten me. In the midst of life’s trials and hardships, it can be easy to forget that I have a Father who has good things in store for me and loves me deeply. Seeing a new bird in my yard or looking through my backyard list reminds me of how deeply I am loved. And as I remember, I can encourage and remind my grandchildren, niece and nephews, family and friends that God delights in them as well.
Are there ways you remember God’s delight and love? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear!