My husband and I both grew up in Illinois where the State Bird is the Cardinal and our favorite baseball team is the ELEVEN-TIME WORLD CHAMPION ST. LOUIS CARDINALS. Guess you could say we’re fans!
Several years ago God used a Cardinal of a different sort to remind me of His presence and to comfort my heart. My oldest was away at college and I found myself fretting over the “what if’s” of life. I was driving along a country road on the way home from a friend’s house, praying for my son, pleading with God to protect him. One of my favorite verses of scripture to pray for my children when they are out there “in the world” is found in John 17. Jesus is praying for His disciples before He ascends back to heaven:
I found myself praying often, “God, I’m not asking you to take them out of this world, but that You protect them from the evil one.” Now, for those of you that heard your Mother say to you, “I brought you into this world and I can take you out!”, you might think this is a funny thing to pray…
…but here’s what I’m saying: “Lord, I know that in this world we will struggle and be tempted, but PLEASE protect my son from the plans of the enemy–plans to steal him away from what You created him for!” As I was praying this particular day, a pair of cardinals flew past my window and I was reminded of the verse in Matthew 10:28-31 where Jesus says,
“Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. But even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So don’t be afraid, therefore; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
That verse doesn’t give me a blanket promise that my son (or my other children/grandchildren) will always be safe. It does tell me that God knows exactly where we are, He has created us for a purpose, and that He values and loves our children more than we ever could. I’m not sure exactly why we are surprised when God shows up, but He did–He comforted me and reminded me that I can trust Him–and that He even cares enough to gently assure me of His presence. I soon began to see cardinals everywhere–and every time I see one I am reminded again to pray for my son AND it was “of prime importance” that I put Him back in the Father’s Hands where he belonged.
I took this picture through our kitchen window, where I see cardinals every single day now, and I am truly grateful to the Lord that He gives us a window of opportunity to see Him–if we seek Him. His Word tells us that we WILL find Him, if we seek Him with all our heart. [Jeremiah 29:11-13]
He has placed us in this world for a reason, for a season, and I, for one, don’t want to walk through this life with blinders on. We can get so caught up in the concerns of this world that we forget that God IS still at work and He wants us to be involved in what He’s doing. Thank you Lord, that through prayer you open our eyes and give us a glimpse of You…
“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.” I Corinthians 13:12