How To Know You Are Loved ~ Birds and Butterflies ~
Jesus loves the little children,
all the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
they are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world!
This song by Clarence Herbert Woolston which was penned sometime in the 1800s didn’t randomly pop into my head. What provoked the memory was the beautiful array of birds and butterflies that captivated my attention as I sat enjoying a quiet morning. They were yellow, black, white, brown, and blue. The majesty and unique workmanship of God was inescapable.
Not a single one of those birds and butterflies appeared stressed, bothered, or worried about anything, least of all food. “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them” (Matthew 6:26). You see, God not only created the birds and butterflies but He also takes care of them. We do not need to infer or guess whether He does, He tells us that He does. Jesus continued, “And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?” So let's pause for a bit and ask ourselves the question, 'Do I believe that I am valuable to God and loved by Him?'
The truth is that millions of people around the world don't know or don't believe that Jesus loves them. Maybe one of those people is right in your house. Many others who are doing their best to deal with problems, meet deadlines, pay bills, and put food on the table sometimes forget about Jesus' love for them. When things are going well we can happily function without constant reminders about God's love because the very nature of promotion and answered prayer is the evidence that Jesus loves us. However, when God feels distant, when we feel abandoned and when we are caught in the thicket of trouble, even remembering that God loves us can be difficult.
For me the opening song evoked a child-like glee and assurance that Jesus loves me, but more importantly that He loves us all regardless of our race, wealth, or any other differentiating factor. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14). He also taught His disciples saying, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). It is recorded that Woolston’s inspiration for the song was Matthew 19:14 and a part of me also wants to believe that maybe he could have been influenced by a splendour similar to which I witnessed that particular morning.
That morning, I felt God’s love for me, because I could see His love for those tiny creatures. They playfully landed on the lawn in pairs, sang and whistled loudly, and basked in the warmth of the sunlight. There was enough space for them all; there was no fighting for territory or notoriety, but all the species collectively enjoyed the earth that God gave them as habitat. (Maybe humans can learn another lesson about peaceful co-existence from the birds.) Certainly, if it is one declaration that we should make over our lives every day is that ‘God loves me’. Open your mouth and remind your difficulty, circumstances, and insecurities that Jesus loves you.
To be honest, although I have an abiding knowledge that God loves me, there is something special about the words in Mathew 6:26 resonating truth to me thousands of years after they were spoken. In our low moments, we sometimes search through sermon after sermon and read books and articles to reassure us that God loves us, when sometimes we just need to step outside. Look around, look up and see how God is holding the entire creation together with His love.
Don’t stay inside your house stuck on the merry-go-round of despair inside your head. Step outside, take your shoes off, and walk barefooted on the grass. Take a drive to a place where creation declares the wondrous glory and beauty of our Lord. God wants you to know, to see, to feel, and experience His great love for you. Should you believe Jesus when He posed the question about our value far exceeding that of birds? The answer is ‘yes’, a resounding ‘yes!’; because Jesus does love you.
The next time you see a bird or a butterfly anywhere, observe the happy abandon of their behaviour, admire their beautiful plumage and the ease of their movement, and then remember that Jesus says that you are more valuable to Him than they. Remember that Jesus loves all the people of the world whether your circumstances are red with despair or yellow with joy and hope. Jesus loves you more than the birds that He takes care of every day. Be assured that every need that you have is taken care of and that the answer to every prayer is on the way. Whatever your circumstance, good, bad, or in between, remember that Jesus loves you.
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