I've never been an early riser, but over the past few summer months I've been waking up with the birds. Mostly crows and magpies, their vocal chords are in my opinion not blessed by God with tranquil song. Their abrasive rise and shine squawking begins at the crack of dawn and helps facilitate my personal sleep deprivation. So conceding defeat, I habitually grab my slippers and head to my favourite appliance, the coffee pot. From there I open my patio door and let the morning breeze slip in through the top to bottom screen. But more often than I care to admit, what also slips into my mornings is the tendency to allow my mind to wander down the path of disquieting uneasiness.

I'm not talking about miniscule things like, "did I put the toilet seat down?" I'm talking about big ticket items like, "the physical and spiritual health of my family", "where will I find a job I'm qualified for", or more succinctly, "why do I worry in the first place if I've placed my faith and trust in Jesus Christ?" Let's face it; we humans are worrywarts even when the bible says, "Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything." (Philippians 4:6 NLT).
 
As I sipped my 6am coffee a few days ago and stared anxiously into the backyard, a pair of blue jays landed in the neighbor's tree and promptly announced their presence with a distinctive jeer. It was then I almost spilled my coffee because it's rare to see them in our neighborhood. Blue jays are one of my favorite birds, and their unexpected arrival instantly shifted my daybreak angst to a spirit of placid joy, and yes, peace.

Since I've always loved birds, I'll go out on a limb here, no pun intended! I believe God reassured me that morning that I need not fear; that when I bring my prayers and petitions to Him, the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus. Through God's still small voice, my blue feathered friends accomplished just that.

Watching them was a beautiful reminder that my life and circumstances are in very good hands; God's hands. "Look at the birds," Jesus says. "They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly father feeds them." (Matthew 6:26 NLT). The verse goes on to tell me that I'm far more valuable to Him than the birds are. I don't know about you, but I find that way cool!

When I shared my Jay moment with a friend, she replied with these words, "Keep looking to those blue jays. They are God's little encouragement to you that he hasn't forgotten, and He never will." Her response affirmed what my heart already knew. That when I foolishly pick back up the worries I've already placed at the foot of the cross, God assures me, "Yes, the Lord is for me; he will help me." (Psalm 118:7 NLT).

Will there still be mornings when I'm up early and my thoughts are riddled with future concerns? That is most assuredly a given. But as I wait for God to unravel the fears in my life and weave them into something beautiful according to His plan and purpose, I'll keep watch for those divinely orchestrated things that remind me I'm not alone. And if you my friend put your faith in the right place, namely Jesus, I hope you're getting more sleep than me!

Sometimes we have to sit quietly in the wings and wait for God to work his magic before allowing us back on life's stage. And thankfully it's during those desert moments that He promises to never leave us, nor forsake us. So the next time you wake up early and anxiety creeps in, remember if the birds aren't worried about tomorrow, then as children of the living God, why should we?

Now where did I put my binoculars?

Paul Smyth