“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:18
So my fellowship with fowls continued today, but in a different way. As I was sitting outside enjoying the sun, a couple of pigeons began to walk towards me. Their menacing eyes stared me down, searching for food no doubt. I cringed at first and thought to shoo them away. How ironic, I thought, yesterday I basked in the presence of my two Mallard friends. These pigeons? No picture or moment of awe was taken, and let’s just say they were lucky I didn’t have a broom handy. If they had been ducks, or doves, or a peacock, it would’ve been a different, right?
Sensing my displeasure, perhaps, they flew away. I became curious about the winged rodents and wanted to know WHY they even exist. So, I started to research those pesky pigeons. You want to know something interesting? What if I told you that the word “doves” was actually a term used to describe young pigeons in the Bible. What? The “bird of peace”? The bird used to symbolize the Holy Spirit? The same bird sent by Noah (Gen 8:8) and praised by David (Psalm 55:6) was kin to this creature we’ve come to loathe? Yes, doves and pigeons are considered interchangeable. Even in recent history, pigeons were considered heroes and messengers for wartimes and urgent communication. Somehow, because they don’t take the form of the angelic white doves we’ve been accustomed to seeing, we see them as a burden.
We like things in pretty packages. We like a neat bow designed perfectly to our specifications. We like conditions that fit nicely into OUR plans.
When things aren’t the way we imagined, we’d rather shoo them away and forget about them.
I’m no different. Life has handed me a few “pigeons." Seriously, some “Grand Central Park-Commando-Duck and Cover” pigeons. Circumstances that aren’t “pretty” by my standards and in these moments I can honestly say I struggle with a heart of gratitude. That’s just not my first reaction.
But, when I pause and start to look at the course of my life through God’s eyes, I begin to “count them all joy”; not because they’re perfect, but because they are a part of His design (James 1:2). If I could see the “dove," I would embrace the downs with the same heart of thanksgiving that I do the ups – the rain and the sunshine – because they are all beautiful and they all have a purpose.
What about you?
What circumstances or challenges in your life could you use a change of perspective?
What are you trying to shoo away that God is telling you to embrace?
Where could your life use an appreciation upgrade?
Now that I know a little more about my “pesky” friends, I feel bad about how I’ve treated them all this time. Now that I know who they are, I’m going to look at them in a different way. They’re not going anywhere, and they shouldn’t. And when the pigeon-like events come, I’m going to change my attitude and how I treat them. I’ll embrace them (my circumstances, not pigeons) and see the beauty and the purpose, in spite of the package they come in.
Let’s pray: Lord, You ask me to be thankful in all circumstances. Seal my heart with gratitude that is not moved by what I see. I am the first the admit that I may not have asked for these situations, and if I were to design it myself, I would choose a different plan,. But, You are the Master Planner. Your ways are higher than my ways, and your thoughts are higher than my thoughts. Elevate my thinking to Your perspective because Your word promises in Jeremiah 29:11 that You know the thoughts You think towards me and they are thoughts of good, hope, and a future. So, I embrace that good, that hope, and that future unconditionally. Your will be done. Amen.