Spiritual Lessons I Learned From a Hummingbird

Outside my kitchen window, two glass and copper hummingbird feeders hang, which draw a variety of birds which we have nicknamed over the years. I can stand and watch them for long stretches, enjoying the midair “dog fights” for position on their favorite feeder. I appreciate their delicate features, the hues of color on their tiny bodies and the long needle-like beaks they use to draw nectar from a flower.

The tiny wings of the hummingbird move so fast that they look like they are always scurrying. They can hover in midair, wings flapping at a speed of 53 beats per second and insert their beak into the feeder and lap up the sweet treat waiting for them with their incredibly long tongue. Then another hummingbird will dive bomb the feeding bird in an attempt to scare him away from the source of an easy meal. Fascinating as it is to watch, I have often thought there was nothing relaxing about a meal taken in such a competitive environment!

HummingbirdThen one day I observed an amazing sight. There was one special bird among the group that favored my hummingbird feeders. His back and wings were a beautiful green color and the distinctive white ring around his neck led my granddaughter to name him “White Necklace.” The outstanding feature about White Necklace was not his appearance. Though a lovely bird, the ruby throated hummingbirds have always won the beauty contest. But White Necklace had an amazing ability to rest and drink deeply at the same time. All the other hummingbirds would hover in midair, wings flapping at high speed and drink from the feeder as if too nervous to stop for even a minute or two. If one of their dive bombing competitors flew toward them, they would quickly scurry off to safety. But not White Necklace.

White Necklace would land on the rim of the feeder, his tiny feet securely gripping the copper edge. He would sit as if perfectly content and without a care in the world, his wings resting at his sides. Then he would drink deeply from the fount of sweetness, completely ignoring any other birds that tried to buzz the feeder in an attempt to scare him off. He simply refused to be intimidated. I marveled at his peace in the midst of the pressure of other birds coveting his prized spot in the universe.

Rest…and drink deeply. Those words floated through my mind. That is exactly what White Necklace had somehow learned to do and what I felt sure God was always longing for His children to do as well. Rest and drink deeply.

We live in a high-pressured society which bids us to hurry and scurry nervously to accomplish our long lists of important tasks. Anxiety, fear and worry chase us like those dive bombing hummingbirds trying to knock us off our place of peace and rest. And yet God has told us to BE STILL…

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God…
Psalm 46:10 NIV

How hard it is in this high-tech age to be still, to rest or even to quiet our minds when there is non-stop intrusion of noise, media and the clamor of the world all around us. Consider your own life – when and for how long are you still, quiet, resting from all the busyness of your life so you can hear the voice of God and drink deeply from His Word? Once a day? Once a week? Ever?

Watching those hummingbirds has really been eye-opening for me. There are always pressures in this life much like there are always dive-bombing hummingbirds fighting to scare away the peaceful and resting White Necklace. Yet that special bird has learned the secret of resting and drinking deeply in the midst of pressure. May God teach us that same lesson, so that we can REST, BE STILL and DRINK DEEPLY from His goodness.

Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me.
Psalm 116:7 NLT