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  • Writer's pictureTim Grissom

Birds, Flowers, and Garbage Cans

One morning a few weeks ago I looked out my kitchen window and noticed that the garbage can I’d taken out to the street the night before had been moved. The city’s trash hauler was due any minute, so if I didn’t get out there quickly and set it back in place, my garbage wouldn’t get picked up until the following week.

Fret not; I made it in time. Order was restored . . . kind of. In my mind this very little situation started to grow: Who moved the can? Why did they move it? Could it have held two weeks worth of garbage if I hadn’t seen it in time? How can I keep this from happening again?

I rapidly shifted from confusion to irritation to worry to prevention strategy . . . over a garbage can.

Little things often trigger my worst reactions.

Thankfully, God reeled me back in, maybe chuckling a little as He did, and then reminded me about the birds and the wildflowers. He takes care of them without their tactical input and He takes care of me—in the little things and the big ones.

Consider the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Can any of you add one moment to his life span by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? Observe how the wildflowers of the field grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these. (Matthew 6:26–29)

I don’t need to strategize a defense to keep things from going wrong (as if I could). I can’t offer God any more assistance than the birds do, or the flowers. And they seem to be doing just fine with Him in control.

I’m not saying that grief was the onset of my obsessing ways, but it sure gave them a boost. The loss of a loved one, and the many changes it sets in motion conspires against our sense of order and control. Worrying and obsessing seep into the cracks that grief has opened up.

But it never really was our order, was it? We were never tasked with holding our world together. And perhaps this is one of the favors that loss does for us—if we let it. It helps us notice the little things God does, like watching over birds and flowers and kinetic garbage cans. And we know that if He cares that much about the little stuff, He certainly cares about the big.

© 2022 by Tim Grissom. All rights reserved.


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