Friday, November 15, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: A lesson on persistence taught by a cardinal (bird)

About Cardinals & Persistence

A devotional by Victoria Bylin

I’m trying to decide if the cardinal that taps constantly at my window is a good role model or a pest. Is his persistence a sign of strong character, or is he just plain old stubborn?

A little bit of background here … Our house backs to a tree line full of gold finches, Carolina wrens, robins, and cardinals. The birds are beautiful, but in the spring, the male cardinals compete for territory. One particular bird claimed the small tree outside of our den. When he sees his reflection in the window, he thinks it’s another cardinal and tries to chase it off. This has been going on since last May, and he’s hit the window about ten thousand times now.

We’ve tried everything to get him to stop: pulling the blinds, opening the blinds, hanging up dangling ribbons, non-reflective stickers, etc. But nothing works. This bird is unstoppable!

After weeks of being annoyed by the on-and-off tapping, I’ve come to admire him. His goal might not be Biblical, but his behavior models a powerful parable from Luke 11:5-8 (NIV):

Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.

Shameless persistence … My cardinal friend models that behavior perfectly. I admire him for it, and am challenged to be more consistent in my prayer life, serving others, and all the things we want to do as Christians that sometimes fall by the wayside.

Mr. Cardinal is an excellent role model in that regard, but frankly, he’s knocking on the wrong door (or window in this case). My husband and I don’t have the power to give him what he needs. All his effort is most likely giving him a sore beak. He reminds me of myself here, pushing hard at something in my own strength instead of leaning fully on God.

I’m so grateful that as human beings, we worship a God who does have the power to move mightily in our lives. Read about His promise in Luke 11:9-10 (NIV):

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Not only is Mr. Cardinal a role model for commitment, he’s also part of God’s beautiful creation.

So here’s to knocking on the right door, loving God, and living for Him with persistence.

Author Bio:
Victoria Bylin is the author of 18 traditionally published romances. Known for tackling difficult subjects with great compassion, she delights in stories that shine the spotlight of God’s love on ordinary men and women facing realistic challenges.

Writing has always been a part of Victoria’s life. As a child, she wrote hundreds of letters and scribbled in journals. As an adult, she worked as a freelance journalist and editor before taking on the challenge of fiction.

She had one goal when she started her first novel: to finish a book-length manuscript, good or bad. That first effort will never see the light of day, but it led to a second manuscript and a sale to Harlequin Historical. Since then, she has written westerns and contemporary romances for both mainstream and Christian publishers, with Together With You winning the 2016 Inspirational Readers Choice Award for Best Contemporary.

Writing is a joy and a challenge for Victoria, but faith, friends and family matter to her far more. She’s a wife, mom, proud grandmother, and a dog-mom to a wacky Jack Russell Terrier. Originally from California, she and her husband currently make their home in Lexington, Kentucky. When she’s not writing, Victoria enjoys long walks, travel, and dark chocolate.

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