While picking saskatoon berries one morning, a unique birdsong captured my attention. I could hear the bird but was unable to spot it. Its song soothed my senses and blessed away my stress.
Birds have always had a special place in my heart and I watch them with keen interest. How do they fly? How do they sing? How they can eat their own weight each day and not gain an ounce? How can a sparrow stand outside in minus 53C windchill eating seeds and not turn into a ‘sparrowcicle’? They are miraculous. Perhaps it is my fascination with birds that led me to my request of God.
It was at a significant low point in my life. Terrible circumstances surrounded me. The passing of a two-year-old girl, a family friend who died in her mother’s arms, was particularly crushing.
In my own family I was struggling as my kids were making destructive choices despite fervent prayers, leading me to believe I was a lousy mother and an ineffective follower of Christ rather than realizing they had free will. Spiralling down I crashed into a crisis of faith. There was no light. There was no hope. I questioned everything I believed, even to the existence of God himself. Was I just nuts? Had He ever spoken to me?
Sitting on my deck, weeping and crying I called out to God from the depths of despair, not even knowing if I knew Him anymore. “Are you there?” I railed. “Do you care? Please, God, show me. Right or wrong I am asking for a sign. I’m desperate, Lord. Please. Please just send one goldfinch to the yard right now and I will know the truth.”
In the receding wake of shuddering sobs, I waited. Waited as the sky grew dark and the birds went to bed. No goldfinch. No promise. No answer. I went to bed devastated and exhausted, feeling deserted and alone. Sleep was elusive and when it did come it was restless and short.
Dawn greeted me with puffy eyes and a groggy head. Leaden feet padded their way into the kitchen where I leaned weakly on the counter. Blankly my gaze came to rest over the windowsill.
I froze for a moment, then started to melt. There, outside my window, was not one goldfinch but an entire flock! They covered the feeders, the hedges, the guy wire on the power pole. It was an explosion of yellow. Never have I seen so many goldfinches in one place and never have I seen that many since.
In that moment I knew without a doubt that God had answered my prayer. Hope was restored, faith was resurrected and I knew the truth.
Now when circumstances challenge and test my faith I know He is with me. The following verse girds me and gives me hope:
“I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
This is the direction I received to find my way out of the pit and I want you to know that if you too find yourself looking for a pinpoint of light in the darkness, be encouraged. He is right there beside you and will help you find your way. And if there is any way that I can pray for you, let me know. It would be an honour and a privilege. We are in this journey together.