A few weeks ago you may recall I wrote about the joy of having a visit from a goldfinch in our garden; shortly after that I wrote about the need for patience as we waited for more goldfinches to come and make use of a new bird feeder we were given; and then last week I wrote about our dog, Marley. All these blogs are still available if you want to refresh your mind.
Sadly I have to say that we have still not had any visitors to the birdfeeder, and I am beginning to wonder if the handsome and enthusiastic chap pictured below is to blame – in his enthusiasm and loudness, could it be that he has scared the birds off?
And of course that got me thinking…God has prepared so many good things for us out of His love, yet quite often we do not access or take advantage of these things because something else is distracting us or maybe even scaring us away from God’s bounty, whether they mean to or not. Fear of losing control, of looking silly, of having to admit to others that we haven’t got everything sorted in our life come to mind. Over-busyness, lack of trust or confidence that God actually loves us unconditionally can also play a part in us missing out on God’s feast.
The apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11 that “Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat the bread and drink from the cup” in the context of communion, but actually his words apply beyond that in our daily Christian life. Ignatius of Loyola developed this idea with his prayer of Examen, used by Jesuits as a way to look back over each day, bringing both good and bad to God, from Whom of course, “Every good and perfect gift” (James 1) comes. Perhaps we should take more notice of this instruction and examine ourselves, asking the question, “What, if anything, is distracting me from stepping into the best God has for me?” Or, “What, if anything, scares me off from receiving God’s best for me?”
Remember that, “God is love…there is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment” (1 John 4v16b-18a). Also remember that there is nothing in the whole of creation that is stronger than God’s love, nothing that can separate us from God’s love.
Bring your fears to God. Confess your distractions to Him. Trust Him to give you the very best. And grow more and more into the likeness of Christ.