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Seeds of the Kingdom

A Comforting Nudge

by Julie Smith

Your rod and staff protect and comfort me.
Psalm 23:4, NLT

Sitting at the kitchen table, my husband and I heard an unexpected thud from outside and guessed straightaway a bird must have flown into the window. Sure enough, there on the narrow window ledge was a very stunned little fledgling sparrow. Everything in us wanted to go and rescue it from its precarious perch, to scoop it up and sit it gently on the soft grass, but the poor thing was already shocked and panting heavily. So, going against our natural instincts, we stayed indoors, watching from a distance, hoping it wouldn’t fall to its death on the concrete below.

Suddenly, another sparrow swooped down from seemingly nowhere and flew straight into the little bird, pushing it roughly, and immediately the quaking fluffy ball flapped its wings, and off it flew in the wake of what must have been its watchful parent. It seemed so harsh, and yet all at once we realised the parent bird’s swift action was for the little one’s very best.

I love the way God’s creation so often mirrors His loving ways with us, which are so different to our ways. If we had followed our instincts and tried to ‘rescue’ the little bird, the shock of us picking it up might have killed it, putting it in the soft grass would have made it vulnerable prey and would have given it a much harder platform from which to try and launch itself. We had wanted to make the little bird comfortable, but the parent’s instincts were safety, preservation of life and doing whatever it took to encourage its young into its destiny, to empower it to fly, grow strong, mature and be free.

What a picture of our heavenly Father, who will go to any lengths to rescue us. He desires the absolute best for us, to rescue, restore and redeem our lives. His love is so strong, it isn’t sloppy, it doesn’t seek to make us comfortable in our uncomfortableness. Psalm 23 says, ‘Your rod and staff protect and comfort me’, which doesn’t convey a sense of God settling us snugly where we are, but of Him, rather like the parent sparrow, directing and prodding us forward away from places that are not safe, nudging us into freedom and fullness of life.

Certainly, I look back in my walk with Him and thank Him for those times when He has lovingly, yet firmly, prodded me forward into His ways, urging me away from the uncomfortable ‘window ledges’ of passivity, negativity and self-pity I have clung to, where the danger of spiralling down into the deathly places of hopelessness and despair was very real.

Perhaps today the Father’s rod and staff are ‘comforting’ you, perhaps lovingly holding a mirror up and challenging you to move away from a place you may have been stuck in for some time, which is holding you back from freedom and abundant life. It is so much easier to receive His words of acceptance and affirmation, but His discipline is just as much a vital aspect of His love (Proverbs 3:11-12). Let’s be open to hear His voice of correction today, directing and nudging us forward into His ways, so that we can come into our God-given destiny and our lives give glory back to Him.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your amazing creation that so often reflects Your heart and Your ways back to us. Thank You that Your love is strong and doesn’t leave me on window ledge perches that are neither safe nor healthy, but urges me away from them, so that I can come into all the freedom and fullness of life that Jesus won for me. Please help me, today, to hear Your voice speaking to me and allow You to nudge me forward. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Julie Smith is married to Roger, and they have two grown up children. Having received deep healing in her own life, primarily through ministry at Ellel Grange and then attending the Modular School at Glyndley Manor, she went on to join the Glyndley associate ministry team. She now works part-time for Ellel Ministries and is an associate teacher with the ministry. She is passionate to see others restored and released into the abundant life Jesus won for us all.


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