Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
Although it rained quite hard on Wednesday last week, the water drained away quickly with no resulting puddles on the lawn. Imagine our surprise when early in the evening we saw two unexpected visitors to the garden. Two brightly coloured mallard ducks, (drakes actually), had flown down onto the new lawn. From their plumage they looked to be young male birds. But why had they landed in our garden? There was not enough wind to blow them off course. Perhaps they were lost, but then birds have a pretty good sense of direction. The most likely explanation is that they mistook the reflection of the sun on our neighbour’s glass conservatory roof for a pond or lake.
Like the birds it is easy for us to get disorientated by the hustle and bustle of everyday living. Spend your money buying this product, cry the adverts, it will make you younger/fitter/more wealthy/regarded more highly by your peers – you know the kind of thing. Often it seems enticing to follow a certain course even though the ultimate result proves illusory – a case of chasing shadows. Yet Jesus said ‘I am the way...’ John 14:6. To follow Him and to act according to His commandments is the way to true happiness, joy, fulfilment. What clearer instruction do we need? Nevertheless, how often do we go astray?
Speaking of spending money now is the time the credit card accounts fall due for payment. With the work on the garden and some other rather large bills over the last month we have run up some heavy expense. Now comes the time of reckoning. The bills have to be paid, but how? It is going to be tight. Yet perhaps the birds were reminding me of Jesus’ words: ‘Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?’ Matthew 6:26 NIV. In other words, God knows and cares about the needs of all His creation. God takes care of the plants, the birds, even the ducks that have strayed off course into our garden, and so surely He will take care of us as well. We can rely on God to provide our needs. Note those words; God will provide for our needs, not necessarily our wants, unless our wants coincide with what God wants for us, of course. His unconditional love for us means that He cares for us even though we don’t always follow His way. That is no excuse for not trying of course!
Whatever the reason for their visit, the mallards spent a few minutes pecking at the grass, before flying away. We were delighted to see them, to recognise in them the glory of God’s creation but also to reflect on the messages they brought us.
Today some unexpected visitors may cross your path. Welcome them as they may have a message from God for you!
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years