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feeding squirrels

May 13, 2008
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I glanced out my window this morning to check my bird feeders, and my heart sank. Okay, that may be a bit dramatic, but I was definitely discouraged by what I saw. There was a plump gray squirrel hanging by his back legs from the roof of the feeder, happily stuffing its contents into his fat little cheeks and spilling the rest onto the ground below. I just filled that feeder with the last of my 15 pound bag of sunflower seeds two days ago, and now it is empty. Don’t those squirrels know that I bought a “bird feeder” not a “squirrel feeder” ?

But then I stopped to think about it a bit. What is wrong with feeding squirrels? Aside from the fact that they can empty a feeder that would feed the birds for a month in a matter of minutes, they are cute and furry and pretty entertaining to watch. And the seed that they spill doesn’t go to waste. Shortly after the squirrels have had their fill, the doves appear to clean up their mess. And what the doves leave behind, in a few weeks, will grow into a nice patch of sunflowers in my garden.  So why does it anger me so much to see the squirrels? Because it was never my intention to feed squirrels and grow sunflowers.  When I bought the feeder and the huge bag of seed, I envisioned little birds happily flitting about, singing songs of praise to me for providing such a nice place for them to have a snack. The sight of the squirrels is discouraging because it wasn’t a part of my plan.

So much of life is that way. I plan out the future, expecting that if I do A and B, the result will be C. If I buy a feeder and fill it with seeds, the birds will come and eat it. But sometimes the result is not what I want or expect.  How often do I miss out on the unexpected gifts that God is trying to give me because I am frustrated that things aren’t going the way I hoped?

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

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