Following up on the previous post, today I’m reflecting on the next verse in Joel. Chapter 2, verse 21 begins with “Be not afraid, O land,” and verse 22, “Be not afraid, O wild animals, for the open pastures are becoming green. The trees are bearing their fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their riches.” What beautiful images of God’s provision!

More “sit-time” lately has provided opportunities to gaze out the window and watch the birds and animals come and go.  My husband has been God’s provision-bearer for the deer, wild turkeys, squirrels, chipmunks, etc. and I’m so thankul for his faithfulness in filling the birdfeeders and spreading out the seeds and corn for all those critters who are trustingly oblivious to God’s care for them. They are not afraid.

As we watered, dead-headed, and rearranged some flower pots on the deck today,  a darling, plump sparrow perched on the wooden railing to watch us. “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me”  became the musical mantra in my mind as I slowed my movements to avoid startling him. He hopped down to the deck, pecking the fallen seeds. What a delight to see trust in action!

Last night I immersed myself in a book by Luci Shaw, a gift from my sweet friend Mari. “Water My Soul” is a book about “cultivating the interior life” and speaks of God as the first Gardener. “Nature is God’s great revelation of himself,” she writes, “God’s fingerprints, the hints and clues to his nature, are everywhere.” (p. 30) Luci encourages Christians to be alert, focused, and to find God in all of creation, both “the magnificent and the miniature.”

Opening my heart to God in nature is one way to close the door to fear. Green pastures, fruit-bearing trees, and even wild animals and birds – all boast that God “has done great things” and call me to “be glad and rejoice.” Looking ahead to verse 26, I read Joel’s words, “and you will praise the name of the Lord your God.”

The second verse of “His Eye is on the Sparrow” helps me do that: “‘Let not your heart be troubled,’ His tender words I hear; and resting on His goodness, I lose my doubt and fear. Tho’ by the path He leadeth but one step I may see: His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”

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