Backyard Pulpit

“Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.” (Psalm 16:1)

The racket emanating from my backyard escalated, forcing me to discover what animals could possibly be creating such uproar. With the rumbling sounds of thunder in the background, I peered through the light rainfall and noticed a creamy-­‐-­‐-­‐ brown duck marching back and forth barking orders like a general empowering her troops.

The mesh enclosure surrounding the pool barricaded this mother Gadwall from her four ducklings as they swam frantically in the chlorinated water. The booming summer storm had thrown them off course, and now the newborn ducklings were incapable of maneuvering their way out.

With deafening honks usually associated with 18-­‐-­‐-­‐wheelers attempting to avoid a head-­‐-­‐-­‐on collision, this agitated two-­‐-­‐-­‐pound bird was evidently convinced her brood was in harm’s way. Clearly, it was her duty to reassure them at the top of her lungs that even though they were temporarily separated, she would definitely ensure their freedom and reconcile them to her side in prompt fashion.

I eased the enclosure open, she charged in, and they tucked their tiny bodies against hers. Like an Olympic gymnast, she repeatedly propelled herself over the tiled wall, encouraging them to emulate her move and escape their watery prison. Not for one moment did she take a break; the blaring directions and vault maneuvers continued for over an hour. When three of them hurdled out safely, leaving one behind, she kept up the barrage of quacking, squawking, and flapping until the last one finally followed suit.

In this parent’s relentless pursuit of her ducklings, in her unceasing directives, in her determined passion to protect and preserve her own, I saw the Lord’s own hand. He calls to us through his Word, propelling us to safety by the wisdom and guidance of his Spirit. By his own sacrificial example, he illustrates how to do life well, how to manage and cope and flourish regardless of the hurdles in front or the deep holes beneath. The tiny birds knew they would be rescued. Their job was to listen, follow, and obey.

Hopefully, this big truth from a minute bird who preached her heart out from a backyard pulpit will not fly away and disappear any time soon.

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