“Be still and know that I am God.”
According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, “A Ruby-throated hummingbird beats its wings about 53 times per second.” Considering it has one of the highest metabolism rates of all the warm-blooded vertebrates in the world, one can only assume that it must require some amount of effort to simply “be still.” Yet, this state of stillness is exactly what I observe in this Ruby-throated Hummingbird perched on a branch in my backyard. Even without the metabolism rate of a hummingbird, we all experience seasons in life where it can be challenging to simply “be still”…both physically and spiritually. I experienced such a time of spiritual “restlessness” when I lost all the women in my immediate family- mom, sister, and grandmother- far too close together. Even with or without the hope of Christ, there remains the business of adjusting to life without one’s loved one. My own season of loss only pales in comparison to that of so many others in the world. As I struggle to make sense of the hardships we face in this life, God’s direction comes in the stillness of a hummingbird: “Be still and know that I am God.”(Psalms 46:10)
In light of God’s glory in creation comes illumination of the creator: God doesn’t call us to understand times of trial and suffering, but to trust that he is control in the midst of them. Consider the book of Job where we hear of a man who has experienced immeasurable loss and suffering. After losing his children, home, livestock, servants, and health, Job finds himself in desperate need to understand his predicament. His wife suggests that he curses God for his troubles while his friends offer to help uncover the possible sin that could be causing his suffering. When at last God, seemingly displeased with the feeble attempt of others, speaks into the midst of Job’s suffering, he has a few questions of his own… all pertaining to the divine nature and eternal power of God as revealed by creation. As Job recognizes God’s glory in creation, he finds a place of stillness for his soul in the sovereignty, power, and providential care of his creator. (Job 38-42) Likewise, as we relinquish our desire to understand things too complicated for us to know and instead trust ourselves to the sovereign and providential care of our creator, we can find a place of stillness for our souls not dependent on circumstance.
Before winter, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird will cross the Gulf of Mexico in a single flight destined for Central America. I can only wonder how it instinctively knows that there is anything better to make such an arduous journey worthwhile. We can’t fully understand hummingbirds anymore than we can understand human trials and suffering this side of heaven. But like the hummingbird that instinctively knows there’s something better on the other side of the ocean; God calls us, mortal though we are, to trust that he is control. In union with Jesus Christ, we can rest assured that the best is yet to come.
Inspired by the Nature of God
(Seeds of Devotion: Psalms 46:10; Job 1:13-2:10;Job 38-42;Psalms 131;1Peter 4:19;Acts 2:26;Rom 1:20)