My cardinal is back again this morning. I’ve seen him at the feeders and further out in the yard throughout the year, but he’s become a regular on the back porch over the past week or so and he’s getting bolder by the day. As I sit at my kitchen table pecking keys and pouring out my heart, he hops around on the outdoor furniture and in and out of the large pots where the Japanese maples are placed just outside my window. I fully expect him to knock on a glass pane and wave at me any day now. (grin)
This cardinal is gorgeous! He is very healthy—plump and perky—and his much smaller mate sometimes joins him in exploring the Japanese maples. As you know, the male cardinal is the one with all of the really red coloring, though even in all of his fiery finery, he doesn’t always show up well against all of my colorfully patterned chair cushions and the bright greenery of late summer. But just you wait! Come winter when all of the greenery has faded, he will show up as a stark blaze of glory against all the gray of winter.
We’re like that, too. It is only the backdrop of our circumstances that really hides or highlights our faith walk. You may feel like you’re flying under the radar—unnoticed and insignificant—like you’re really not doing anything big for God right now. Please know that isn’t really the case.
There’s something to be said for consistency. Whether you know it or not (or like it or not!), people are watching. They want to know if what we have is truly real. It is not only during the easy times that they come to know that about our faith walk with God. It is most often when we face difficulties that they see our true colors and our relationship with God becomes visible in ways we didn’t expect or plan.
Many people think the cardinals are just seasonal. They’re only accustomed to seeing one posed against the whiteness of snow on a Christmas card. This cardinal, however, is here. He has chosen to stay throughout the hot, muggy summer months. He may not shine or be as visible right now as he will become as the seasons change, but he is still here. He is consistent in his presence. Be consistent in yours. That consistency is important so that when your seasons also change—and they will!—you will be ready to shine, as well.