Updated: Jul 27, 2022
“PFFT” was the unexpected sound heard near our screen door. It was loud enough to draw our attention away from our morning reading. It appeared to have come from a small, fluffy gray ball of something that was not moving. My heart sank. Nathan’s curiosity propelled him from our sofa to the doorway to get a closer look. Yes, it was the tiniest of baby birds, he confirmed. Heeding our warning to first observe it from a distance, we hoped it would survive. Mostly, we were puzzled by this little bird’s appearance.
We had been watching a nuthatch from our patio for nearly a month. Chris was the first to identify “his friend,” as he called him, and describe his unusually frenzied daily feeding habits. He had bonded enough with him to give him a name. We asked daily about “Nickleby” and Chris eagerly gave updates about his health and well-being. Nickleby was territorial and lived between our cabin and the edge of the woods across the ski slope. He had plenty of bugs and flying insects to eat. He did not seem distressed or bothered by other birds. Chris was impressed by his “easy life” and was in awe of God’s provision that supported his ease.
Suddenly, however, we had a disturbing bird landing that shifted our view of bird life. After closer inspection, not one, or two, or even three tiny fledglings had landed on our doorstep but five! We looked up to discover a nest in the gable end of our cabin and surmised that today was moving day for the Nickleby family and flying lessons had begun. Two took flight more easily than the others and were spotted at the edge of the woods away from the cabin. The other three couldn’t quite get the hang of the wing-flapping part of being a bird and gravity had taken over. With no parent in sight, the young ones seemed vulnerable, cold, and shaken from their abrupt landing on earth. They were struggling and alone and we could do nothing to help them. Though difficult, we left them alone, after a small prayer on their behalf, in the hope that they would somehow do what birds do (and of course, we followed the sage advice of our own parents who told us to leave little birds alone so that their mamas could claim them and care for their own).
The next morning we rushed to open the curtains to see if the babies had survived the night chill and any hungry predators. Joyfully, we found the three grounded ones huddled together, eyes open, still as statues. A sharp cheep from their nearby mama or papa (Nickleby was near, hallelujah!) warned them to be still.
We kept our distance and monitored their progress for the next few days. We are happy to report that all five survived, learned how to fly, and left the neighborhood for parts unknown. Unknown? Not really. Why? El Roi, their Maker, Provider, and Protector saw them and loved them. He is the God Who Sees (Gen 16:13).
Moreover, in my God-encounter with His beautiful creation, His Word comes alive to me once again to refresh my understanding that He sees me and you. Matthew 6:26 is clear: if He sees the sparrows (or nuthatches) and takes care of them, how much more does He care for us? When I feel vulnerable, invisible, and forgotten, He sees me. He sees the social outcast, the leper, the blind, the demon-possessed, and the Samaritan woman. In the storm, He sees. To the smallest detail, He sees.
How much more does He care? His seeing is accompanied by His boundless love. He is the advocate of sinners, the healer of the sick, the friend of the lonely, feast to the hungry, and the hope of the hopeless. His love is available to us today no matter our circumstances because He sees us, cares for us, feeds us, protects us, and sustains us. He will never stop seeing me or you. He is our Father. We are His cherished ones. Seek Him. He is here. All is well.
-Susan (of the Wildflowers)
P.S. Our trip with our own “baby birds” has been beyond wonderful and we are so very grateful for God’s good hand and presence in every day. Attached are some photos of the past three weeks or so with Nathan, Jack, Bailey, Leah, and Noah. We are enjoying Jack and Bailey in the Adirondacks for a few more weeks then we’re off to our next destination.