God’s Not So Random Acts of Encouragement

Mar 31, 2012Find joy today

This encouraging post comes from freelance writer Patti Richter. I love how God works, don’t you?
My friend has experienced God’s very present help in trouble. But Ann has a problem. After seeing so many signs and wonders, she worries that people might not believe her testimony.
Last year proved the most difficult one of Ann’s life. A corporate calamity loomed overhead for months on end. Meanwhile, both her parents’ health declined rapidly and they died only weeks apart. On the heels of those sorrows, her family’s beloved pet had to be put to sleep.
The story of Job came to mind for those of us helplessly observing our friend’s losses. But we saw God’s kindness to her as well. Noticeably, the worst events seemed to have happened at the best times or in the best way possible.
More vivid assurances of God’s love came in the form of birds. In Ann’s darkest hours a cardinal would arrive and perch before her. She couldn’t recall ever seeing cardinals up close. In fact, she called them redbirds at first, not knowing their real name. Each appearance brought comfort, and with every new occurrence, greater encouragement. Ann sensed that the Lord wanted her to know He was watching over her.
Ann sought God’s strength throughout her painful ordeal. But she wondered about God manifesting himself through cardinal visits—15 of them at last count.
Would God use birds to specifically encourage anyone? He did in Elijah’s case. Ravens delivered meat and bread to the prophet twice-a-day for awhile (1 Kings 17:6).
But birds aside, God’s Word promises his watchful care. Jeremiah wrote: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. . . . The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him” (Lamentations 3:22, 23, 25).
Paul also described a God of encouragement: “who comforts us in all our affliction” (2 Corinthians 1:4).
The morning after burying her father, Ann awoke too sad to get up, until a chirping bird intervened. She jumped out of bed knowing what she would see when she opened the shutters.
After my friend called to share that recent redbird story, I sat on my patio, very happy for her encouragement—and thinking I could use some for myself. Then, strangely, a bird flew down and stood on a nearby chair for a full half-minute. Even stranger, my bird-chasing dog remained still and quiet beside me, only watching. I loved having the bird come so close. It was a cardinal.