January 4, 2020
Knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope. – Romans 5:3-4
It has been said that there is no substitute for experience. It is true that some things can only be fully understood by going through them. Life offers many experiences; however, most of them are not without a cost.
One time when I was visiting an elderly lady from our congregation, I noticed that she had some birdfeeders in her backyard that attracted finches. This interested me, so I went to the local pet store and purchased a couple of feeders and some sacks of thistle seeds. This was just the beginning of my experience with feeding birds.
I secured the feeders, which were made of nylon netting, in the branches of two oak trees. Sure enough, in just a day or two, activity was picking up at the birdfeeders. In fact, it picked up so well that I found myself going down to the pet store and buying more seed!
Then, however, several things happened that dampened my enthusiasm. First, I noticed that the birds were making a mess on the deck at the back of our home. One morning I found that one nylon feeder had fallen on the ground. The last straw came when I saw my wife sitting quietly on the deck reading, and above her head, chewing on the nylon netting, was a wood rat. I looked at the other feeder and there were two more wood rats (no doubt the reason for the one feeder being on the ground earlier). I told my wife that was it! I wanted nothing more to do with birdfeeders! Later, I related what had happened to the lady who had first inspired me to feed birds, and she remarked, “Oh! Those are things you find out for yourself.”
Although everyone may not go through the experience of feeding birds, we will all go through some learning experiences regarding our souls. There is no shortcut to gaining spiritual experience; it must come through patience. And there is no shortcut to patience; it must come through tribulation of one kind or another. May God help us all to glory in our tribulations, as they bring us patience, experience, and then hope.