Fear Not, Little Hummingbird

Fear Not, Little Hummingbird

It was no ordinary day at the office. That hummingbird made sure of it.

We had just relocated to the countryside where wide-opened windows replaced the comforts of air conditioning and the quiet rustling of the sugar cane fields became a stark contrast to the loud congestion that had once enveloped us.

The tranquility was a welcomed change on the outside, but the tumult of anxious thoughts that had plagued me for years was still clamoring within. Though my fingers were assiduously keying rote journal entries, my mind was waist-deep in the muck of what-if and how-to’s – that old familiar breeding ground of fear. I earnestly tried not to park my thoughts there by busying myself every waking hour of the day. I reasoned that by doing so, I wouldn’t have time to think or feel or fear. But when the noise is removed from around you, a reckoning begins to happen. And on that day, the usual rhythm of my fingers slowed and my eyes became acutely aware of the near-unrecognizable reflection in the computer screen. With no one around except my one tired soul, tears began to fall.

Then it happened.  The most unlikely of visitors darted through the opened window, unannounced, with a rustling all its own. Startled, I initially took shelter under my desk, giving my uninvited guest free reign of the office. Maybe that old hummingbird had been looking for food, deceived by the reflection of flowers on the window’s glass. Maybe it was scampering from a threat, only to now find itself in greater peril. Maybe it had just made a costly error in judgment. Whatever the reason, it didn’t take long for the hummingbird to realize that it was not where it belonged.

I watched it, peeping intently from my covert space. I was amazed at its beauty and yet became increasingly worried at its state of sheer panic. Trying desperately to free itself from the confines of a human domain, it continually thrashed its body and bill against the ceiling. I had called the maintenance worker on sight to come and help, but minutes began to pass and my guest became much more restless. I had to try something.

So I managed to drum up the courage to come out of my makeshift hiding place and do a darting all my own to the broom closet. Trust me when I say, my darting was nowhere near as a graceful as the bird’s and my rustling sounded more like an “eek!” But I made it unscathed. Panting, my plan was to gently guide the bird back out the window with the broom, ducking when necessary. After a few helpless attempts, it was clear my good intentions only caused its thrashing to become more intense. Cognizant of this, I backed off and called for help once more.  

It was so painful to watch such a beautiful creature waning in its attempts to be freed. And as time lapsed, its ache to be liberated from this unnatural state of panic started to echo my own. An ache brought on by years of neglected hurts, subdued pain, misguided decisions, and veiled fears. Much like the bird, my constant belaboring and self-dependency to escape my own confinement of anxiety had left me battered, exhausted, and, in that very moment, ready for surrender.

The thrashing eventually stopped. Limp, my guest finally perched itself on the blind just above the opened window. Sometimes, our deliverance is closer than we realize.

I had never seen a hummingbird so stilled. Even with its keen eyesight and peculiar abilities, it couldn’t find a way out and instead resigned itself just to be still. Yes, God. You have my full attention.

Knock, knock, knock. The maintenance worker finally came. I wondered how he timed it so perfectly. How did he know the bird was done fighting in its own strength? He stood there for a moment and quietly spoke of the beauty of such creation. He slowly extended his arms, tenderly cupping the bird with hands rugged from the day’s chores. There was no fight, no flinching, no resistance. The wearied bird had found its rest in the same hands that would soon set it free.

I inched closer to witness the maintenance worker tilt his hands outside the window in the direction of the bird’s natural environment. Mercifully, he opened them and my guest gracefully took flight. I can tell you, that hummingbird’s release began loosening something in me.

With his job done, the maintenance worker left and, once again, there was no one in the office but my one tired soul. This was no coincidence.  God was bidding me to stop fighting in my own strength and come to a place of surrendering my fears, my hurts and my anxieties to Him right there, in that very moment. So I stood, stilled, looking out the window, and imagined God graciously holding me in my vulnerabilities. This time, it was His wearied child, finding rest in the same arms – His arms –that would soon set me free. Sometimes, our deliverance is closer than we realize.

“Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today….The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:13a, 14

In what way has God used His creation to set you free from your fears and anxieties?

10 Comments

  1. Jenny November 3, 2020

    These words…thank you for sharing this beautiful story. I felt something loosen in me too as you shared of that bird’s deliverance.

    1. Stephanie Clarke November 4, 2020

      Thank you Jenny! I’ve revisited the scene a lot in my head this year and the very thought of being held by God comforts me!

  2. Bayta Schwarz November 4, 2020

    Thank you for sharing that story, Stephanie! So precious when God uses little things like that to speak to our hearts!
    Also, so good to hear I’m not the only one who will freak out because a little bird strays into the room! 😉

  3. Stephanie Clarke November 4, 2020

    Yes, Bayta! Something about the manic-ness of the bird and closed spaces that makes me a little timid! Lol!

    1. Bayta Schwarz November 4, 2020

      I understand!

  4. Spring November 4, 2020

    This post really impacted me. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I feel like I have been in the place of the humingbird this year. I loose total hope. And yet the Father is a faithful deliverer.

  5. Stephanie Clarke November 5, 2020

    He is faithful, Spring. I’m struggling too, but I hold on to the knowledge that even when I don’t see Him or feel Him, He’s left me the good deposit and He’s working for my good! Our deliverance is closer than we realize!

  6. Monica F November 5, 2020

    A beautiful visual of God’s gentle care for us! Thank you for sharing your story.; I’ve been there too. Thank you for being so open, what an impactful piece!

  7. Carolyn November 21, 2020

    What a beautiful description of a sacred moment. Thank you for sharing this with us! Hummingbirds often visit a feeder outside my bedroom window. I hope that the sight of them will now remind me of the truth you highlighted.

  8. Dale's AC September 25, 2021

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. I feel like I have been in the place of the humingbird this year!!! Dale’s AC

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.