My Father yielded yet another spectacular backyard blessing just yesterday.
By now most of you know I’m a disabled wheelchair user. Some of you also know I’ve gotten into this photography thing (since May) with near-reckless abandon. I cite the numerous times I’ve gotten stuck in mud and loam attempting the perfect shot as Exhibit A.
As such, I often pray for God to send me specific birds to capture in my lens since I cannot always get to where they are in their natural habitat. Alas, my backyard is a veritable panorama of birds and small wildlife!
I’ve asked for redbirds and He’s brought them. I’ve asked for goldfinches and He’s wrangled some up. Hummers, we now have aplenty. Oftentimes, these aviary eye candy have shown up a day after, within the same week, and some even the the very day of my asking.
God is good.
I believe I know why too. The Creator knows how deeply His flitting and flapping playthings draw me more deeply into worship and He mercifully obliges.
Which has taught me something about prayer: He doesn’t necessarily oblige Himself to deliver on every ask we lay before Him, but is more inclined to answer affirmatively when He knows how the askance will foment our worship of Him, result in thankfulness, and increase our awe of His Kingdom.
Case in point.
Just yesterday, there I was in my Holy Spot, digital Bible in hand and prayer book close by, sniffing delightfully at the pre-Fall air, listening to the warbles, whistles, cantankeries, clicks, and rattles of the menagerie caught in my yard when I felt it welling up in me. I was to ask.
Here’s where you’ll think I’ve come unbuttoned.
Pools of water filled my orbital cisterns. Emotions rose. My heart hopped on a treadmill. My breaths quickened. Something so strong came over me, prompting me to cast doe-eyes at my Papa. I’m not kidding when I tell you my emotional investment in this ask was as profound as the many times I’ve asked for various healings or financial need.
You’ll think it’s stupid.
Well, I’ve brought you this far, may as well take you the rest of the way. Okay, I asked God to give me a close-up glimpse of a hawk. Sandy and I have lived at this address for 22 years and in all that time I’ve only caught sight of one hawk in our backyard – and that was more than five years ago, closer to ten. This is what makes my story more pauseworthy and, dare I say it, miraculous.
In less than two hours a hawk glided into our backyard, it’s body like a quiet missile to my left. It thudded clumsily onto a branch barely 25 feet from me and the branch sank a good six inches.
Well, hullo there.
It was majestic!
I cried out, letting loose my inner child on Christmas morning, slowly fumbling for my camera.
Please God, don’t let him fly away!
Lo and behold, he clung to that branch for a full five minutes, his only movement a slide along the branch so as to – I kid you not! – move clear from some distractful foliage. An unobstructed view. I literally ping-ponged between excitement and fear. My Cooper’s Hawk affected me in a way we might project wondrous joy and abject terror in the Presence of the Almighty at the same time.
Praise and worship erupted in the atmosphere. All birds had absconded, not wanting to be its next meal, but I served as the Sons of Korah Choir all by myself in that ethereal moment.
Some might chide coincidence, but you’ll never convince me. In a very limited sense, I felt like Elijah by the waterbrook, birds sent to feed and be his companions. In those minutes I was fed from the Table of God, a Mephibosheth at the Royal Dinner.
Yes, my Alaskan friends, I know a hawk doesn’t come close to eliciting the majesty of a giant bald eagle, but I’m still enraptured.
Sure, My son; I’ll flush out a hawk for you! A big one, a terrifying one. Just for you, because you asked. I see that it will move you to worship Me, be glad in Me and increase your awe in Me.”
As for the giant bald eagle?
Oh I’m coming for you, just you wait. I’ll be getting my ask on pretty soon. When the Father prompts me, it’s a done deal.
When it happens, I might even be moved to jump out of my chair.
Won’t that blow y’all’s minds?