I have a ritual to mark the end of summer. The hummingbird feeder is taken down, cleaned, and packed away until the following spring. I am sorry to see the hummingbirds leave as they entertain me with their antics. However, time marches on and the seasons change what I see outside my kitchen window.
It is obvious when the time draws near for the hummingbirds to fly south. There is increased activity at the feeder as the tiny birds tank up for their long trip. Year after year, the last of the stragglers are gone by mid-September.
This year was different. Much to my surprise, two female hummingbirds were still visiting my feeder through the end of September and into October. I wondered why. Did the hummingbirds miss the signs to go? Where they left behind by the others? Or were they too comfortable because their immediate needs were being met? Did they choose to stay put? I didn’t know the answers, but I began to pray for my feathered friends to go. If they stayed, they would surely die in this place. The hummingbirds were not meant to stay here for the winter.
I can see aspects of my faith journey in those lingering hummingbirds. I have lingered in places when God clearly intended me to go. Do I stay or do I go? The answers to why we stay in one spot can reveal much about our motivations.
Are we too comfortable in our current circumstances that we have become complacent in God’s kingdom? Stretching our faith will make us uncomfortable. Do we miss the signs of God’s holy invitation to go because we are too focused on ourselves? Maturing faith will look to God first. Do we stay put because we are worn out with life’s difficulties? Exercising faith will energize us.
We are not meant to stay put! We need to go to experience more of God in our lives. Oftentimes, the biggest growth spurts in our faith result when we let go of the present comfort and trust God with the unknown of our future. Grab God’s hand and take flight on an adventure to His place of safety for us!
By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.
But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.