Plain, brown, and wonderfully special

By Don Saul, Jericho Bridge Church | Apr 25, 2018

Yes! Another mystery-bird identified.

When we moved here from Minnesota nine years ago, I had to learn the look and names of a whole new list of birds from the songs I heard. I’ve made quite a bit of progress, but there are still some that have evaded my identification.

Even now, as I sit writing this article, I can hear a couple more about which I have no clue! But, at least there’s one more I recognize thanks to my daughter, the natural scientist. Maybe you Pacific Northwesterners will know right away!

For nine years, I have been trying to identify a bird I could hear, but never see, rustling in the bushes, while thoroughly enjoying its long, complex, and melodic song. It wasn’t until last week that I finally was able to record its sound.

I messaged it to my daughter, who promptly identified it as a… (drumroll inserted here) Pacific Wren.

I eagerly looked it up, and do you know what I saw?

A plain, brown, boring, short, fat, brown (did I say that already?) bird, that looks like every other brown bird out there.

Even its scientific name disparages it: Troglodytes Pacificus.

In my mind I had always pictured a gorgeous, multi-colored beauty, along the likes of a cardinal or pileated woodpecker, but no. I was quite disappointed, even as I continued to enjoy its spring serenade.

Then, the Lord quickened to me a verse that never should have left my mind: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14).

The verse just before affirms that God Himself created each one of us, knitting us together in our mother's womb. God creatively, lovingly, carefully, majestically, and joyfully created you, to be special.

He sees you as a delightful, breathtaking beauty, regardless of how you look OR how you feel. To Him, you are not plain and brown.

To God, you are that wonderful song.

Psalm 116 adds that He turns His ear to you. Can you picture it? God, on the throne, leaning over, saying to the angels around Him, “Did you hear that? That’s my daughter/son. I love hearing from them.”

Not yet completely convinced? Let’s dig into the root meanings of some of the keywords in the Psalm 139 verse:

“Fearfully”: Reverently, held in the highest regard. God thought carefully and in great detail about who He wanted you to be when He made you.

“Wonderfully”: Marvelous, set apart. You are special, set apart for Him, unique. After you, God broke the mold, because He wanted you to be one-of-a-kind. Plain and brown?  Not in the Father’s eyes, or heart.

“Wonderful”: Miraculous, way above. What God creates is far above what we can do ourselves, and God outdid Himself when He created you. Really.

The next time you feel alone, discouraged, plain, ordinary, or of little value, go outside and listen for the Pacific Wren.

You may not see it as it forages around in the bushes, but your Father in Heaven knows it intimately. And you are of more value to Him than many wrens.

He always leans in when you talk to Him, and what He hears is a sweet, melodic song that puts a smile on His face.

Today, take time to see yourself as your Father in Heaven sees you, not as you may see yourself. Know that, full well.

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