You know I love books, so when my friend Kim posted on Facebook at the beginning of the year the best book she’d read in 2013 was Consider the Birds by Debbie Blue I sought it out. Almost immediately. I respect Kim’s opinion and the book looked intriguing.
A provocative guide to Birds of the Bible.
This will go on my fav books of 2014. The biggest gift this book offered me was the reminder to slow down and pay attention. Are there really enough birds mentioned in the Bible to warrant a book? A book that isn’t tedious and trying too hard? Do birds mentioned in the Bible have that much to offer us?
Even especially those of us who are non-birders?
Yes, yes, yes. Though a book about birds, it’s really about the life of faith.
As a brief sample, the first chapter is about the pigeon — purity and impurity. Chapter three (one of my favorites) is about the quail –desire and slavery. And the last chapter, chapter 10, on the raven — failure and trust.
It turns out humans are more like ravens than other types of birds. I loved the way she ended the chapter and the book:
“It’s one thing to believe God feeds the little pretty birds of the air. They have small appetites. They need a few seeds. Everybody loves them. It’s not that much to feed. They do not seem needy. But what if you’re ravenous?
“Is the hope that God will feed you as long as you’re not that hungry, as long as you don’t need that much? God will feed you sure — if you have the appetite of a little dove, as long as all you need is seeds, dry little seeds? The hope is not so proscribed.
“God feeds the ravens, the ravenous, the mixed-up greedy glutton carrion eater. That’s saying a lot more, somehow — something more shocking, maybe than God’s willing to give bird food to light eaters. And how much more will God feed us? We need a lot. A lot of food and attention and love and healing. The world needs a lot. And I don’t think I usually believe that God will feed us all. Jesus seems crazy here to me, unreliable, like, how can we even listen to him here? How can we model ourselves on the raven, like the lilies — it’s lunacy to ask us to believe we will be fed.
” What if we could trust that we will be fed?”
She nails it, doesn’t she? I think most of us believe that if we have nice, dainty, reasonable appetites when it comes to purpose, relationships, our physical bodies, even provisions we want, if we keep them small and non-imposing enough we can expect to be “fed”/ heard.
We have been formed by the messages we receive from the world about how to make friends and influence people, how to put our best food forward. But being in relationship with God isn’t like going on a first date, we don’t have to monitor how much is on our plates, how generous we are with the tip, how interesting we may appear.
Sure, God likes the those parts of us too, but part of trust is that he can handle and respond in love to ALL the parts of us. The shiny parts that clean up well and the parts that we are too exhausted or worn down or depressed to care. What if we could trust that we will be fed?
I read this chapter earlier in the year and it was only recently in telling someone about the book and flipping through it I thought about ravens in light of my word for the year, trust.
This month, the lesson trust has offered me is the raven. Mathew says “consider the birds,” Luke says “consider the ravens.” This month I have been.
How hard is it for you to trust you will be fed?
P.S. Thanks Kim for the recommendation! And for those who love a good forward, this one is written by Lauren Winner!
Here’s the deal for the link-up:
- Every third Tuesday I’ll host a link up. Trust + Tuesday + Third = three T’s and I don’t have to mark my calendar with different dates! Just remember TTT. The next one will be on July 24th and you can get more details here. The link up will be open for one week, after one week, you’ll need to wait until the next month.
- Please link back the link-up, either by using the Trusting Tuesday picture or simply a text link.
- I’ve also started a Pinterest Oneword365 board and want it to be a community board (meaning let’s have our Oneword365 posts all in one place!). Check it out!
- If you miss a month, don’t beat yourself up. This will go on for the next twelve months and isn’t meant to overload you or make you feel guilty. We’re going to be a group of cheerleaders.
Photo credit by Douglas Brown via Flickr
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Kimberly Todd says
Oh, now I want to reread this book this year. It is such a gem. If I can recommend one good one for the handful I get from you, I’ll be full to overflowing. Love to you, friend.
It certainly IS one to be reread! Thank you so much for the book recommendation :). Love to you as well!!
Thanks for posting about this! Her book has been on my wishlist for awhile, so i guess i need to get on it sooner rather than later.
I have always liked the verse about sparrows- if God feeds and cares for the sparrows, how much more will he care for you? That’s why i had so many bird paintings in my China house, to remind me of that truth.
Now I wish I’d paid more attention to the art in your home! And yes, yes, yes on getting the book :)
This is SO good!!! I heard about this book a while back, but I think it just moved up my priority list.
Good :) … it’s one to be read, that’s for sure!
Emily Thomas says
What an interesting thought! I love it. It does seem at first that as long as we eat just a little (like a side salad or a baked potato) we’re good. Anything else is not polite. But that’s just not true! Thanks, Amy.
You’re welcome, Emily :) … here’s to being able to be voraciously hungry with God.
I’m in a season when it’s very hard to trust that I’ll be fed. It seems like every time I surrender there’s another new memory, or a huge challenge to how I’m thinking or yet another immovable rock to trip around on this healing journey. Not only do I not trust I’ll be fed, I don’t trust I’ll be healed. It feels like I’ve been in this process forever, and it looks to me like nothing’s changing (though others with clearer, more distant vision tell me this is not so). My therapist recently challenged me to think of the abuse as being random, like a tornado or a hurricane. If that’s true, then the abuse was an act of God and I don’t know how to handle that idea. Probably I’m misunderstanding what my therapist means, but that’s what I heard. How can I trust a God who allowed such horrible things to happen to me as a little girl to feed me and care for me now? What’s changed?
Sorry, I’m in an ugly place tonight.
Jessa, ugly (though not fun) is a valid place to be! I’m truly sorry for all folks who have had horrific experiences that requires healing to look like a slug fest for a LONG time. I wish this were not the case. I’m sorry! And not to speak for your counselor, but when she said “random” I wonder if what she was trying to communicate is that it is not personal — it was not something you did or are that brought this on. It will be a great mystery why God intervenes sometimes, but not always. And i realize how VERY unsatisfactory that is!!! I have a feeling there is so much more going on behind the scenes and this is the down side of being made communal — what was going on in someone else’s life can have very negative impact on our own lives. I’m thinking of you today, Jessa!
Thanks for your grace and affirmation, Amy. I think you’re probably right about what my therapist intended, though I still don’t like that particular illustration. I’m mostly just tired of fighting/working so hard and wishing the process would end. Trust, for me, right now, probably just looks like holding on for another day. That’s probably all the trust I can manage. And God can manage the rest, so I’ll be okay. Thanks for thinking of me.
I love this post. I have a recurring fear that I will be left alone and that no one – not even God – will really be there to take care of me when I need it. This post calls out that fear. I don’t know how to get to the place where I will really trust. But I want to.
Maybe that’s a first step, Suzanne :) … being able to call it out and create space for a bit more honesty and trust to come in. I want to be there too!
Lisa notes says
I don’t think I would have thought to write or read a book about birds in the Bible, but it definitely sounds intriguing to me too! Thanks for sharing about it.
You’re welcome! I DO recommend it :)
Mark Allman says
I struggle with this. While I do believe God will take care of us I question if I will be satisfied. I may be fed but will I feel the abundance? I think I trust God to feed but I don’t know I always trust Him to feed that which I desire so deeply. I don’t want to be fed just to exist. I want to be fed that which will make my heart soar. Do I trust God to do that…. I don’t know that I always do.
I do know that I have been thankful a lot of times not having my prayers answered when I realize God did more than I could imagine but it’s tough to feel that is the case at times. To be open to letting God do whatever with us can be scary even knowing that which He does flows from His deep love for us.
Mark, you’re not alone in the struggle :) (as you can see by other comments, and probably in your non-online life as well!). It is a tension, is it not? These deep longings we have, but more often than not, laced with fear (and as you pointed out — fear for a reason. We are NOT always given what we ask for. And sometimes that is a very good thing … we can see how it worked out better another way. And sometimes it is more like a gaping wound.). Thanks for pushing us deeper!
Adding this book to my to-read list! Thanks for the recommendation! And thank you for your words. What a great reminder. We are seen by a big God who cares for our needs! Trust!
Love knowing that we’ll touch base each month :)
I loved this. Another book to add to my Christmas / birthday list. And yes, I want to be greedy for God, not politely nibbling at crumbs. I’m not there yet by a long way, but it’s my prayer to become enamoured of God, really, truly desiring to be filled with the Spirit. I know I’m still hovering on the doorstep but at least I’m not running away any more! I need eagles wings maybe to fly in through the door and soar through the great hall…
“Hovering on the doorstep” — what a beautiful way to describe these tensions we feel and the people we want to be!