A Lesson From The Owl

Sunday, April 25, 2021
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Listen while you read: "Near To The Heart Of God"1 (Lyrics)

Psalm 46:10a – Be still, and know that I am God! (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.

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About the author:

Alice Burnett <terrencera.burnett@gmail.com>
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Ok we will be here.

    Encouraging and inspiring.

    Beautiful story, Alice, and wonderful application.

    This is so appropriate for these times.
    Thank you.

    Thanks, Alice.
    We enjoyed your inspirational devotion today.

    Great post and so true, Alice! Thank you for the much-needed reminder!

    Thank you! That really spoke to me and helped me today. May God Bless.

    Thanks, Alice for bringing back some memories and for sharing your faith today. Love to you on our journey.

    Thanks for the challenges and reminders. How we need to rest in His Word every day and pray for the peace that passes all understanding. Blessings.

    Thank you for today’s message. It was exactly what I needed to hear. I too forget this important message and you reminded me at the exact time I needed it.

    Hi Alice,
    What a great owl story! Thank you. May God hold both you and Terry close on this Lord’s Day.

    Dear Alice,
    What a lovely illustration you have used to teach us about trusting God. These turbulent times press us into His care in a very deep way. Thank you for writing.

    Hi Alice
    A wonderful truth!
    Yours is the second message about owls? Psalm 46:10 is my favourite and go to message from the psalms. Blessings.

    Your devotional was “spot on” this morning, Alice….true but sometimes oh so hard to remember.
    Thank you.

    This made a strong impact on the start of my day. Thank you for that powerful illustration of God’s interest and care in all aspects of our lives. I need to remember this. Bless you for your writing.

    Dear Alice,
    How true! Thank you for a simple, yet ever so real and powerful message.
    God bless you both.
    (Sri Lanka).

    Thank you for your message today. In these days of turmoil and uncertainty, we do need to “be still” and know that God is with us.

    I so enjoyed reading today’s email message. Thank you for taking the opportunity and the time to prepare this. We all do need to be still and leave God To His job – being in control of our lives. Thanks again.

    I really enjoyed your writing this morning. The lessons for us are often in nature and presented for all to see. Is this centre still in operation? Once travel is allowed again, I would include it in a tour.
    Thanks for writing. I’ll try and be still on this sabbath!

    Thank you, Alice, for this lovely illustration from the owl showing how to let go and be still in the knowledge that God is in control. It spoke to my heart today and it was such a good reminder of how we need to trust God in all circumstances.
    Thanks and blessings.

    Thanks Alice
    That was right on for us just now. Interestingly, a great Horned Owl has been in our family, (stuffed of course), for over 100 years now. Perhaps I should dust him off and set him up as a reminder!
    God is always near.

    Hi Alice
    I want to be sure that my wife read or listened to your devotional. She loves owls.
    Yes, I have received the PCC devotional for many years and only recently have been enjoying lying in bed, eyes closed listening to it early morning.
    Thanks for your contributions.

    Good morning Alice,
    I read your devotion this morning. Your quote from Psalm 46 is great. Psalm 46 is our favorite Psalm, for personal reasons, and your words speak to my heart. But also, In my office I have a great horned owl which I found on the Alaska highway in B.C. when we lived there.
    Thank you for writing.

    Hello Alice,
    Just a note to say thank you for the “words” you spoke in this morning’s devotional. It was a very comforting reminder that we have a God who loves us. These days are very difficult for all of us and to be assured that God is in control is very reassuring. Thanks again.

    Dear Alice,
    This is one of my favourite Bible sayings. Because it is short, it comes to my mind quickly when I am troubled, and it works. I loved your description of the owl and the understanding of your husband and trying to find something that would help him, and it did work. The students also really enjoyed the lesson. Thank you for a sharing a piece of your journey and explain this Bible verse to others. May you have a peaceful and joyful day.

    Thank you for your devotional “the lesson from the owl.” I’ve just reread it. As I went to bed last night I decided to (be still and know that I am God) and remembered a favorite Bible verse from Psalm 55:22 which reads. Casts your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you. I am having a much better day.

    Thank you, Alice, and Terry, for sharing this example with us from your present reality working at the school in Alberta during this pandemic.
    I loved the picture you created for us readers –
    I shared your devotional with friends from a prayer group who have appreciated your devotional message too.
    “Be still and know that I am God”.
    Thank you for the reminder!
    God bless you as you live for him,

    Hello Alice Burnett,
    I truly enjoyed your message about your husband and the owl.
    Many years ago, shortly after arriving in Canada from England, my grandfather’s brothers established a dry-cleaning firm. My grandfather suggested that an owl should serve as their business’ mascot. His suggestion was accepted, and the owl was used for the many years that the family owned the business.
    Needless to say, the owl remains a very special, wise bird to our family. I might add that they were a very devout Christian family and raised their children and grandchildren in the knowledge and love of Jesus.
    Thank you for sharing your gift of writing.

    Hello Alice,
    Thank you for your email, an important reminder to trust and not be anxious.
    A lovely story and so thankful you shared it.

    Hi Alice:
    Thank you for your devotional.
    Such a good reminder from your husband for all of us during this trying time.
    God is in control and He will see us through.
    Will look forward to more of your written thoughts. It is good to see a message from Red Deer.
    Take care – God Bless.

    Hello Alice,
    I got the chance to read a lovely story by you the other day about a trip to a wildlife center in Alberta, Canada and how the lesson of an owl inspired you and your husband in a positive way. We all need to be still and calm as we relax on the palm of a loving God’s hand the same way the owl rested on the presenter’s hand.
    Stay safe and well,
    (Saudi Arabia)

    Thank you for sharing the story about the owl. It gave me lots to think about.

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