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Out of Our Element
Photo: Armin Rose
When the neighbors are away, their German shepherd stays in their basement, accessing the outdoors through her own special door. Each evening we come to play with her, feed her, and shut her in for the night. Each morning, we repeat the ritual unlocking her door so she can again access the outside.

One morning after Heidi-dog greeted me with her usual excited tail-wagging and frolicking over to her feed dish, something in her bed caught my eye. It was a bird, about robin-sized. It didn’t appear dead, but in characteristic fashion huddled dejectedly, its face pointing into the corner of the dog bed. I recognized it at once though I had no idea how it had made its way from the nearby sea into Heidi-dog’s bed.

“What’s this?” I asked Heidi-dog. She took a look, gave a gentle sniff and went back to expectantly wagging near her dish. Reaching down, I gently cupped my hands around the bird and carried it outdoors.

Unable to walk well, when Storm Petrols find themselves on land they often appear “stupid”. They just sit there, right where they landed. This one was no exception. I left it to wait on the steps while I fed the dog. That task finished, I returned to the bird and lifted it high. It flew from my hands. Along the boardwalk it went, its little wings pumping as it gained altitude. It took a smart turn to the right, went up through the spruce and was again over the sea, in its element.

Discouragement Sets In

How like us humans, I mused. A storm blows in, we lose our job, our kids grow up and leave home, the car breaks down… in one way or another we find ourselves out of our accustomed element. At that point it is so easy for discouragement to set in causing us to “sit down and put our heads in a corner."

But unlike the Storm Petrol, our future doesn’t depend on a chance human coming along to lift us back into the air.  Our future is far more sure. Even when storms side-swipe us and spin us off course, we have the assurance of a loving Heavenly Father who will renew our outlook (2 Corinthians 1:3-4), prepare our minds for action (1 Peter 1:13), and extend to us everything we need to get back in the air.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3).

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By C. Rene Ammundsen. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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