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God's best always flies past counterfeits that are merely good

I’m not exactly an expert birdwatcher, but I enjoy watching birds in my own yard. Lately, I think the tiny hummingbird has been giving me a lesson about life. Isn’t it funny how God uses the smallest things sometimes to teach us great big truths about trusting Him?

OK, here goes.

It seems I may be too easily drawn to things that are good, even if they are not exactly what I think they are. And when I settle for something that is only good, I may be missing something that’s even better.

Ever done this?

Consider the hummingbird. It’s fun to watch these fluttery, flittery little winged creatures flicking back and forth from flowers to feeders in my garden. They may look pretty plain at first glimpse. But when the sun catches them, their iridescent details glimmer. It’s beautiful to see.

Hummingbird, Creative Commons CCO photo
Once in a while, I start to admire such a visitor to my patio, only to find with more careful examination that I am not staring at a hummingbird at all. Yikes. It’s a hummingbird moth. And it’s not nearly the same thing, even if it may appear to be.

Hummingbird Hawk-Moth with Pink Coneflower photo by Yusef Akgul, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License

Take a look.

The hummingbird moth, part of the Hemaris genus, looks and moves and sounds much like a hummingbird. This little creature can hover over flowers and sip nectar, just as a hummingbird would do. And they move so fast that it can be nearly impossible to spot the difference.

Many people assume they’ve seen hummingbirds, but often they are mistaken. There’s a whole lot of difference between a hummingbird and a hummingbird moth, even if we cannot perceive it at first. I’m a big fan of little hummingbirds, but I’m not really all that fond of moths.

Hummingbird, public domain photo

I feel like there’s a spiritual lesson here.

Possibly, lots of us try to wing it, gliding through life without really paying attention. We might not even know what we are missing. Have you heard the old expression that says a person has to grow sick and tired of being sick and tired before he or she can be made well?

During His earthly ministry, Jesus asked a paralyzed man in Bethesda about this very issue.

“When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’ (John 5:6, NIV)

Then the Lord told the man to stand up, and the guy was healed, after nearly 40 years of living with his crippling disability.

As a person living with multiple sclerosis (diagnosed a decade ago), I would be the last person to fault that man for staying put and putting up with a seemingly incurable condition for so very long. I am blessed and grateful to be capable of ongoing physical mobility. I fully understand that many who battle MS and other difficult medical disorders do not enjoy such results.

On the other hand, I believe many of us can be lured into growing satisfied with less-than-ideal conditions or choices, simply because we do not stand up in the faith to look for God’s best answers to our prayers.

Hummingbird Moth with Blue Flowers, public domain photo

Let’s go back to the hummingbird moth.

Are we easily entranced by a look-alike moth, or do we discern the difference and look to spot the actual hummingbird?

For many, the less-than-ideal draw is not about coming through a lifelong medical problem. Often, the sickness with which we struggle is sin itself. People can settle into the fleeting pleasures of sin for a season (see Hebrews 11:25), rather than holding to God’s principles for His greater plan for them. Or we might make hasty choices, instead of seeking His direction. And we may end up in a spot that’s not exactly God’s best for us.

Isn’t that sort of like choosing to focus on the lowly hummingbird moth, instead of waiting and watching for the lovely hummingbird?

We tend to be intrigued by cool things. We are drawn to attractive and appealing and mysterious and elusive things like moths to a … well, you know.

I have nothing against moths (unless they hover around my reading lamp at night), but I’d rather watch beautiful hummingbirds. How about you?

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1 comment:

  1. What a great observation! Thanks for the encouragement to focus on the best!