Hungry as a ... bird.

The other day I took my coffee outside to enjoy a quiet moment in the beautiful spring weather. When I sat on the bench on my front porch, I heard a noise coming from the cherry tree nearby. A bird, obviously, but not singing. This was a harsh kind of sound, faint but insistent. More like a cry of some kind. Leaving my coffee on the bench, I went to stand beneath the tree, trying to locate the source. There in the branches I found a nest. Ah, the source of the insistent cry. Over the edge of the nest I could just glimpse movement. Standing on tiptoe, I saw a pair of baby birds, tufts of scraggly fuzz sticking out at untidy angles on their nearly bald heads. These little birds had their necks outstretched, their mouths open nearly as wide as their heads. They were hungry!

Then I heard a different sound, this one from the mulberry tree next to the cherry, an angry squawking. Obviously Mama had returned to feed her babies, and I was interfering. Quickly I returned to my seat and watched as the mama bird glided into the trees to fill her babies’ hungry bellies.

It struck me how like those baby birds I am sometimes. There are times when my soul is so empty it almost feels like physical hunger and thirst. The Psalmist described it well: “My soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you in a dry and weary land where there is no longer.” (Ps 63:1) How did he respond to this deep emptiness? He vowed to fill his mouth with praise. And when he does, he will be filled. “I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;” (Ps 63:4-5).

Jesus spoke of this deep hunger and thirst as well. He said,"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6) The food and water He gives us are ultimately satisfying. But like those baby birds, we have to open our mouths to receive it.