“Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you. . . .”
— Job 12:7
Many children around the world have enjoyed learning from birds: Big Bird (from Sesame Street) and Mother Goose (with her nursery rhymes) are two of the most famous bird-teachers to have flapped or waddled on the face of the earth!
One of my elderly professors often referred to birds as his teachers. When he started bird-watching, he said, he referred to small birds as “LBJs” (short for “Little-Brown-Jobs”) because he couldn’t tell all the sparrows and swallows apart. But the more he paid attention, the more he began to appreciate their differences. Eventually, he said, his learning to pay attention to small birds led him also to appreciate the people around him and the unique ways God was at work in their lives.
Job was discouraged that his friends were making generalizations about how God works in the world—treating everything like an “LBJ.” They were spouting off ideas that had the appearance of wisdom but had no deep insight into how God could be present in times of deep suffering. Job explained that wisdom isn’t about having the right answers; it’s about being able to notice what God is doing in every circumstance, and seeing how God ultimately controls the outcome of our lives. Even the animals and birds know that much, he said!
Lord Jesus, give us humility and help us to pay close attention to the people in our lives so that we can recognize your merciful presence and amazing work in and among us all. Amen.