When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” – Genesis 28:16
I sat in a wheelchair in my room in the care center, my thoughts interrupted only by the quiet whoosh of the ventilator giving me breath.
I thought of how much my life had changed in the previous several months. Just six months before, I had been an active college student. I was chaplain of a Christian fraternity and involved in a new drama ministry at church. I attended weekly meetings of a Christian club on campus and took part in one of their discipleship groups.
Now I was a resident in a care center, hooked up to a ventilator.
As I gazed out my window, the sun just beginning to drift below the horizon, I saw a hummingbird hovering around a tree.
The last time I’d seen a hummingbird was at my step-grandparents’ cabin in Prescott, Arizona. Those were the good days. I loved heading up north with my family to spend a few days at that cabin in the woods, enjoying the cool air and relaxing among the tall pines.
Now those pine trees seemed awfully far away. But God seemed even more distant. I felt as if He had departed from me, leaving me without an anchor in a sea of suffering.
That tiny hummingbird brought me a few moments’ peace. But too soon it flew off and disappeared into the distance.
At about the same time the next day, the hummingbird appeared again. Peace returned as I watched the beautiful bird buzzing just two feet outside my window, its rapidly flapping wings a mere blur. On a whim, I named the hummingbird Hubert.
Over the next several days Hubert faithfully appeared each day at twilight to bring me a few moments of peace. I truly believe He arrived to remind me that God still cared about me. God knew I needed a gentle reminder of His love so He sent a hummingbird as His messenger. God hadn’t left me. He was “in this place, and I was not aware of it.”
When God seems far away, the candle of our hope may get snuffed out. We feel alone in the darkness. We need a reminder of God’s love to rekindle the flame, to renew our hope. God’s messenger to you may not be a hummingbird named Hubert. He may send a loving friend or relative. Or a stranger with the gift of compassion.
God is with you always. And He loves you. I know because a little bird told me so.