A Lesson From the Owl

by | Sep 13, 2022 | Listening, Rest, Surrender, Trials

“Be still, and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10a NLT)

My husband had been having a hard time at the school where we worked together. He was letting the overwhelming needs of the students, both academic and emotional, get to him. Our school was small, and students of all ages were rewarded with an outing once a week upon completion of certain goals in their work. I was in charge of arranging these outings. Because he was an avid birder, I thought that he would enjoy the trip that week, which was to the Medicine River Wildlife Centre in central Alberta, Canada. I sent him off, hoping that he would be able to relax a bit from his concerns. He was still grumbling as he left with a vanload of students that Friday afternoon.

At the Wildlife Centre, Terry sat back and watched as the worker chatted to the students, explaining that the purpose of the centre was to rehabilitate injured birds and other small animals. The focus of the students’ attention was a Great Horned Owl nestled in the crook of the presenter’s gloved arm. It was a beautiful bird, the quintessential owl of storybooks, with large, round, golden cat eyes and feathery tufts on its head. The owl sat perfectly still, only his head occasionally swivelling from side to side, peering curiously around at its audience. The students were thrilled to be allowed to carefully touch its soft feathers.

It wasn’t until Sunday at church that the full impact of this owl encounter hit my husband. The pastor’s sermon was about preparing our hearts to do what God wants us to do. After the sermon, when Terry got up to share about the school outing, I couldn’t imagine what the sermon had to do with it. Terry explained that he had to be like the owl at the Wildlife Centre, to be still and cuddle up in the arms of God. He had to let go of the worries and frustrations in his teaching job and to know that God is in control.

“Be still…” – We have all allowed ourselves to become unglued in the midst of circumstances that seem totally beyond our control. We think that we are responsible for outcomes in our own strength. Have we forgotten to be still? In Hebrew, “to be still” means “to let go”. We need to stop fighting in our own strength. We need to stop becoming agitated and anxious. We need to relax and be at peace.

“…and know…” – How is it possible to “be still” in the midst of difficulty? Only by knowing that God is in control. We must grasp this truth and be convinced of it in the very core of our being.

“…that I am God!…” – God is supreme, the highest authority. As His creation, we can trust Him. We can trust Him to the extent of being still in His arms, letting go of our anxieties, and realizing that “God’s got this!” It’s a lesson that we need to learn over and over. Will you join me in remembering it?

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the awesome lesson of the owl. Help us to be still and to know that You are in control. Help us to trust You with the challenges of our daily lives. Amen.

Alice Burnett
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

Reprinted from the PresbyCan Daily Devotional with the author’s permission


A Lesson From the Owl