It was an innocent idea. Or perhaps naïve.
I’d go out to the little pond and feed the geese.
My bag of bread had gone stale, and rather than dump it in the garbage, I’d share it with the flock living just beyond my apartment balcony. After all, they had a bunch of young fluff balls in their squawky group.
I know. Now we’re warned away from feeding wildlife, but this was several decades ago, before that was a concern. And they were there to stay for the whole summer. My feeding them one afternoon in May wasn’t going to hurt them.
Of course, as I’d soon see, the same couldn’t be said for what they’d do to me.
Perhaps my first mistake was sitting by the pond. All the way down. Legs stretched out.
Meaning zero exit strategy. Because I had no idea I’d need one.
Again, totally naïve.
Yes, I’d fed ducks before. At that time, it was a favorite American past-time. But geese?
Well, now I know it’s different. Then? Not so much.
They ignored me at first, so I gently lofted a glutened cube toward them. That did it. “Goose egg” to sixty, they surrounded me, and I couldn’t throw fast enough. Those long beaks grabbed it from the air almost before it left my arm. Sometimes it hadn’t, and I was lucky to keep my fingers.
So I pulled back and aimed better. I wanted the babies to get some. Figured it would earn me brownie points with the mamas.
Those mamas literally yanked the bread right from their offsprings’ mouths. It was clearly every bird for itself.
And suddenly I realized my biggest problem. Sooner or later, the bag would empty. In fact, it almost was. And I was hemmed in by thirty angry geese, hissing at me, pecking at the plastic.
I looked around for an idea, only to discover I had another audience. All the residents stood outside their apartments, on their patios, their balconies.
One man called out, “We can’t wait to see how you get out of this.”
No help there!
Trying to ignore the jabs at my pant legs, I pulled to a crouch, grabbed the last two pieces, and threw as high and as far as I could into the lake.
Then sprinted the other direction.
Ever since, I’ve been a tad afraid of geese. One thing’s for sure. From now on, they can find their own food.
I suppose that’s why Elijah’s story in the Old Testament fascinates me. He didn’t feed the birds. The birds fed him (1 Kings 17:4).
And not just with bread. Meat, too. It’s such a cool story, it gives me goose bumps.
Okay, granted the birds weren’t geese, but it still doesn’t seem common.
Meaning something was crazy different.
No, I don’t mean God changed. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever.
But the fact that He directed the birds for Elijah? That changed everything.
The Lord had promised there would be no rain for three years. Then he told Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward, and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there” (1 Kings 17:2-4, NIV).
He told Elijah where to go, and He sent the birds to provide for him.
Unlike me, who thought I could control the wild gaggle myself. (Yeah, I know. A little bird-brained. *wink*)
Elijah’s story is proof that God can provide in the most unlikely places with the most unlikely things. With no need for me to go on a wild-goose hunt.
I can trust Him.
And those times when I find myself sitting in spots I have no business being? Maybe I even think I’m helping, but, instead, I’ve just surrounded myself in goose droppings…
Thankfully, God is not like my neighbors who wanted to see if I’d cooked my own goose. Instead, He provides a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13), like that last thrown bread crumb that allowed me to duck to safety.
Yes, “I will call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised. So shall I be saved from my enemies.” (Psalm 18:3, KJV)
Have we looked for the bread and meat that God provides? Or are we making naïve plans with our own stale bread?
It’s time to trust like Elijah.
And word to the wise, don’t feed the geese.