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Learning from a Bird
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It started in a simple way. On a cold, wintry January day, while visiting my parents at their farm, I sat by the fire dreaming of warmer days when I would be able to go out and roam the hills again. I picked up one of their nature magazines and read an article about photographing birds. The author of the article said that people often think he has a great camera or travels to get his bird pictures but this was not the case. He had just moved his bird feeder closer to the window. 

I enjoy photography and the outdoors, but have a low tolerance for cold, so I thought this was a wonderful idea. I shared the idea with my husband, and with his help a bird feeder was moved near our laundry room window. I put my camera on a tripod, raised the window a little, lowered the blinds, and waited in anticipation. 

Since that day months ago, I have spent many hours watching birds through my camera’s viewfinder. During those times, I learned a few things about birds. I began to recognize some birds by their songs even before I could see them. It made me wonder if people know us by our daily song or words? Are we recognized by harsh words of complaint or by cheerful, encouraging words?

Still, Quiet, Patient

I learned three important things while taking pictures of birds. I need to be still, quiet, and patient. As I sat in silence waiting for the birds to come, I wondered if that isn’t what we need to do to learn more about God. We miss so much in the hectic flutter of our busy days. We hurriedly read our devotions and rush through our prayers. We forget this basic instruction, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

Be still. Be patient. It goes against human nature, but it is how we learn best. It was when I was hunched over, eye pressed to a viewfinder and with very limited perspective that I learned to listen intently to sounds. When I’d hear the sound of flapping wings it was time to prefocus, because a bird was about to visit the feeder. I learned when all the small birds suddenly left, not to give up. If I endured the cold wind and waited just a bit longer, usually a larger bird was about to arrive. But do I, do we, stay so focused on God that we are ready to respond to His slightest prompting? Are we willing to wait a bit longer when our hopes and dreams disappear and all that’s left is the stinging wind?
I learned more about birds in a matter of months, simply by waiting and watching them, than I had in my previous 46 years. Imagine what you and I could learn about God if we would be still, wait, and listen to Him!

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By Donice Palmer. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the

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