Look at the birds

Look at the birds

Written on 07/07/2021
Abby Ciona

Refocusing on God’s Peace

Written by Abby Ciona

I look across the river. High up in the trees, I see an enormous tangle of twigs and branches: an eagle’s nest. I often see a pair of bald eagles perching nearby. I stare through binoculars, spotting a fluffy grey chick peeking out of the nest. No matter how many times I visit the eagle’s nest, it’s always exciting to see a worldwide symbol of strength and freedom up close.

There are countless benefits to spending time outdoors in nature. It can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It can boost my mood and calm my mind. Whenever I feel exhausted or overwhelmed by the chaos of the world, I take the time to watch birds.

I find birdwatching prompts me to refocus my perspective. I have to shift my attention away from anxieties and distractions and quiet my swirling thoughts so I’m fully immersed in my environment.

Even though eagles are massive and unmistakable birds, sometimes, you may not know one is right in front of you if your attention is focused on something else. When my family and I walk along that riverside trail, we often point out the eagles to passersby. Some are surprised and say that they wouldn’t have noticed the eagles if we hadn’t shown them.

Overlooking a great bird outdoors is like a kind of mistake we make with God. Sometimes we focus too much on the world; we forget God is with us in every storm. Our lives overflow with a constant cacophony of reasons to worry. Our minds flit from distraction to distraction, never finding rest, never finding peace.

Refocusing is essential in finding peace. Just like a birdwatcher uses binoculars to narrow their focus, we find peace by focusing on God’s promises.

Our worries clamour for our attention, but Jesus calls out to us amid the noise of the world. He tells us to focus on Him, not on the storms of life. He reminds us we can find peace by resting in His love and faithfulness.

Birds are a great example of this. Psalm 19:1-2 says God’s creation declares His glory. We can learn a lot about the Creator’s promises from nature. The birds display God’s incredible promises of His care and provision in their full, brilliant plumage. God chose their colours and patterns specifically for the role they would play in His creation, just like how He makes each of us unique and beautiful with a purpose. Birds declare God’s glory through their songs—rain or shine—just like how we can praise God in the good and in the hard times of life.

In Matthew 10, Jesus tells us to look at the birds, especially the sparrows. Sparrows are birds that most people overlook. They’re insignificant—small and drab brown—certainly not as awe-inspiring and impressive as eagles. But God doesn’t forget the sparrows. He sees them and cares for them, and He promises we are worth even more to Him than sparrows.

Jesus reminds us the birds don’t worry about the future, their jobs, their health, or their grades. They have peace by living in the day God has given them and trusting in His care for that day.

Pay attention, listen to what I am saying, God says in Isaiah 43:16-21. I am doing something amazing in these storms you’re facing. I am making a way for you. With me, you will make it through this. He tells us that even the owls honour Him and trust His provision. He tells us to rest in the shadow of His wings, where He will protect us (Psalm 63:7). I love this imagery of sheltering in God’s protection like the eagles in their nest, keeping their young safe and secure. 

When you feel overwhelmed or exhausted by the world, find something that refocuses your mind on God’s promises for the present and fills you with peace. For me, that means birdwatching. For you it might be gardening, hiking, drawing, or music.

Isaiah 40:29-31 says God “gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” God is a God of opposites. We have rest when we’re busy and peace when the world isn’t peaceful.

In our weakness, God strengthens us so we can strengthen others and share the peace He has given us (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). And God’s strength not only helps us to make it through the day but to thrive in life and soar without tiring, like eagles.