Photo by Jill Wellington on Pixabay

I don’t seem to have much luck getting birds to cooperate with me.

Years ago, I bought a Victorian-style birdhouse, and painted it light blue with white trim. I nailed it to a tree where I could see it when sitting at my kitchen table. I imagined the delight I’d have watching birds move in and raise their young there. I couldn’t wait for my new feathered neighbours!

But the birds refused to move in.

Year after year, the pretty birdhouse sat empty. I was so disappointed. What ingrates those birds were! And after all the trouble I’d gone to for them!

The problem was, I’d put the birdhouse where I wanted it, with no thought to their needs.

The birdhouse was pretty, certainly, but its placement didn’t suit the birds one bit. Being nailed to a tree made it too accessible to predators like squirrels or raccoons. The birds didn’t feel safe nesting there.

I thought the problem was with the birds, but it was with me. I’d done it all on my terms and expected them to get with the program.

Don’t we sometimes do the same with God?

We want to do things on our terms, in our own way, and expect God to get with our program. I’m afraid it doesn’t work that way.

God expects us to get in alignment with His will, not the other way around. God isn’t going to bless our efforts if He’s not part of the picture. Our Heavenly Father doesn’t want to be merely an add-on to our lives: He desires to be its very centre. So He certainly won’t give us whatever we ask for in prayer if our motives are purely selfish.

“And even when you do ask you don’t get it because your whole aim is wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.” (James 4:3 TLB)

God wants us to rely on Him for direction before we act. Wait until God gives you the go-ahead; don’t plunge forward in your own strength and assume God will just get on board.

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all.” (Proverbs 3:5-7a MSG)

The best example of this kind of submission to God’s will is Jesus. He constantly sought His Father’s will in prayer, and refused to do anything other than what God told Him to do.

“For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.” (John 6:38 NLT)

“I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will.” (John 5:30 NLT)

“He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, ‘My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.’ ” (Matthew 26:39 NLT)

It’s hard to give up our own will and submit to God’s will, isn’t it? We think we know best how our lives should go, and find it unnatural to relinquish the steering wheel to someone else.

But God knows what our future holds, and He can be trusted to guide us onto the best path for our lives. Our job is to get with His program.

How do I know this?

Let’s just say a little bird told me!

© 2020 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.

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