When my brother and his wife invited my husband and me to observe elk in their natural habitat, they failed to mention one detail—the nine-mile, single-lane dirt road that wound up a high mountain and down again.
We navigated curves that doubled back on themselves like a snake changing directions. The window view on my side of the car included an almost non-existent shoulder and steep, rocky terrain.
When we descended from the heights and drove into a valley, I unclenched my teeth and took a deep breath. Near dusk, we parked beside a grassy meadow that bordered a forest and waited.
When the sun neared the tops of the oaks and birch trees, a gigantic bull elk swaggered into view. His size commanded our attention. Soon a cow, a female elk, followed. After they gauged their distance from onlookers, they grazed on luscious grass, their evening meal.
We sat mesmerized as one by one other members of the herd emerged from their camouflaged haven in what appeared to be a choreographed entrance. A calf following his mother, an older bull with a large rack, then more cows braved the unsheltered dining area.
Although I observed an occasional ear twitch, the majestic elk ate in peace, oblivious to camera clicks and human visitors.
If the animals had cowered in fear amid the trees and ignored the bountiful provision of the pasture, their menu would have consisted of ferns, other plentiful plants on the forest floor, and bark. The tasty tender-blades-of-grass delicacy would have remained beyond their reach.
Later that night, when I scrolled through my cell phone pictures, Matthew 6:26 came to mind.
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?Matthew 6:26 ESV
God provides for the birds. He provides for the elk. He provides for me. Not only food and shelter, but salvation in Christ Jesus, and myriad other blessings.
In Psalm 23:2, David mentions green pastures of rest as one of God’s blessings. The fifth verse reads,
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.Psalm 23:5 ESV
The elk, grazing in the valley’s grass-filled pasture, created a lovely portrait of God’s table. Among other blessings, He offers His children peace, joy, rest, and prayer, as well as opportunities to serve others and lessons He longs to teach us.
When gripped by fear, we sometimes sit at the world’s buffet and consume a plentiful and steady diet of comparison, people-pleasing, and worry-producing meals. Like an elk who remains in the forest, we miss the wondrous feast our heavenly Father prepares.
Imagine with me …
What if…after asking for God’s help, and forgiveness where needed, we use a spatula to scrape our plates of any anxiety or unsettling thought whose origin is worldly influence, our own desires, or the enemy of our souls?
When we pull up a chair each day to enjoy God’s Word and seek Him in prayer, His truths rinse our plates clean of toxic scraps and fill our hearts and minds with servings of His grace.
Then, what if we praise and worship the Lord, approach His table, and partake of His blessings—the ones He’s chosen just for us this day? God is a wise Father. He doesn’t grant our every wish and whim, but He promises to meet our needs (Philippians 4:19).
The gifts on God’s table are tailor-made for you. Pause to write down today’s needs and lift them to Him in prayer. Maybe you’ll request joy, peace, strength for daily responsibilities, wisdom for a difficult relationship, or an opportunity to help someone. We can ask Him to teach us lessons we need to learn as well.
Pray with trust. He provides for His children according to His wisdom, which far surpasses ours. Then, watch expectantly for the way He answers with His perfect timing.