At first, the reluctant chick assumes its mother will still feed it. When the mother instead shows the chick to search for clams in the wet sand, the chick looks askance but hesitatingly tries – without success.
Completely oblivious to its surroundings, the chick suddenly realizes that the rest of the flock have retreated… and by itself, is knocked over by a wave of cold seawater.
Shivering, sodden, scared, the chick huddles back in its nest, when the mother gently encourages it to come out and try again. Its growling belly shows the growing need to find food.
This time, almost incapacitated by fear and dread, the chick cowers higher on the shore – when it meets a little hermit crab stolidly making its way down to the water.
Following, curious but still cautious, the chick watches as the crab spies a wave coming. Instead of running, it simply burrows down to create a safe nook to hide from the sweep of the water. Unable to escape in time from the wave, the chick quickly copies the crab’s methods, digging itself down into the wet sand just as the wave rushes over the pair, engulfing them both.
The chick hunkers underwater, eyes closed tight, trying to survive till the water recedes. Unexpectedly, the crab taps on the sandpiper’s beak. The chick opens its eyes and to the piper’s astonished gaze, the sandy floor under the water is rich with many clams, each having risen to the surface. As the wave washes back out, the clams begin to retreat below the surface again, digging down deeper, hidden once more.
This little underwater glimpse is electrifying to the sandpiper chick – and the change is extraordinary!
Gone is the little cowering, shivering, fearful chick who hides in the safety and warmth of its nest and is fed by someone else. Suddenly, the chick is energized, knowing where to find the largest clams! Running and piping with delight, it even brings an enormous clam to its mother, so large that several other sandpipers join the feast.
The little piper is still soaking wet. It is still being hit by incessant, cold waves. But now the piper is joyful, revitalized, and is no longer hungry. Instead of avoiding the waves, it realizes that they are rich opportunities for nourishment.
I can relate so well to that little sandpiper. I too often long to stay in the safety and comfort of a warm, sunny nest. I am perfectly content to avoid the cold of suffering and challenges – even while I grow hungry.
Yet when God, like a loving mama sandpiper, nudges me out of my comfort zone and I somewhat uncertainly (and often reluctantly) follow Him down to the shore, I still often expect to be completely coddled, expecting warmth, ease, and safety…
Then when frustrations, disappointments, and difficulties smack me down like chilling salt waves, I too want to give up and run far, far away, back to the shelter of the dry nest and comfortably starve.
Yet, God keeps encouraging me to start living as I was meant to be, growing in maturity and wisdom, learning how to find and consume what is most nourishing to my soul – and it’s down by the water’s edge, not up in the barren nest.
Then, in a time of apparent hardship or difficulty, completely certain that I am unable to breathe or survive in the suffocating cold flooding my senses, He also gently helps me to open my eyes in the middle of it… and reveals a feast of strength and plenty that wouldn’t otherwise be accessible to me unless I was there under the water.
In the time of hard, there is nourishment. In the experiences of difficulty, there is fulfillment, and in the times of loss, God provides for your heart. He knows what is best for us, and He knows what we need. In His care, “even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.” (Psalm 65:11, NLT)
In our experiences, that knock us over and threaten to overwhelm, if we open our eyes to Him in trust instead of fear, we will discover an entirely new strength – and even though we might still be outwardly wet, cold, bedraggled, and look a little crazy, we will have deep joy and full hearts, with plenty to share for others.
A person who is full refuses honey, but even bitter food tastes sweet to the hungry. Proverbs 27:7, NLT
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on East Willow Place