In today’s devotion, I told of an experience my husband, Bill, had when a raccoon wandered onto his campsite, most likely looking for food. Animals have finely tuned senses and instincts, don’t they? That raccoon followed his nose to a place where he correctly suspected he could find dinner scraps. And Birds innately know to set their nests on higher branches and land animals are smart enough to burrow in secluded places to avoid predators. No big decisions involved—the animals simply follow their God-given instincts.
Life isn’t always that cut and dry for us on the human plane, though, and most of us have been faced with some really tough decisions throughout our lives. I’m no exception. I remember many sleepless nights as a high school student thinking about what career path to pursue. Later, when faced with job loss, I struggled again trying to decide whether to remain in business or branch out into a new career. The most difficult decisions, however, have been the ones regarding the health issues of my aging parents and, later, my brother when he became too ill to make decisions regarding his own care. Being responsible for the well-being of a loved one at times felt overwhelming. It’s a large responsibility to bear when another’s fate rests upon your shoulders.
In the movie Steel Magnolias, the character Clairee Belcher glibly asserts that the only difference between us and the animals is our ability to accessorize. Yet, I see something very different. Animals are not distracted by all the chatter going on around them like we can be. They don’t agonize about turning right or left; they simply do what they know they need to do. This is because our omnipotent Creator provides them with all the wisdom they need to sustain their lives and care for their families in the best way possible. To this point, Jesus makes an assertion as well. In Matthew, we find these words: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:25-26, NRSV).
When I’m faced with concerns, I too, need to stop being distracted by the chatter around me. For it is when I quiet myself in prayer and meditation on God’s word that I receive God’s divine guidance toward right answers and solutions. God’s wisdom is always available to us—free of charge—at any time of day or night. We need only focus on the Creator, open our hearts, and claim it.