“What’s a painted bunting doing here?”

I would guess that question has been repeated dozens of times in the last few weeks. Sighted in a nearby town, the brilliant bird has been visiting a backyard feeder, drawing visitors from near and far who stand in the cold and snow, hoping for a glimpse, or even better—an amazing photo. Click on the photo below for amazing detail.

(Thanks to Kris Schmucker)

Who knows what has brought that bird to our area? It doesn’t belong here. This is probably a once-in-a-lifetime for local birders.

Maybe God simply thought these gray, frigid February days needed that splash of joy? (Seriously, I’ve often thought that this is the only reason for the amazing, intricate delicacy of design and color. God didn’t crank out birds on an assembly line. He hand-painted them strictly for our enjoyment.)

In one of Paul’s sermons, he says that joy filling the heart is one of God’s good gifts, “evidence of himself and his goodness,” given even to those who do not believe (Acts 14:16-17). Have you seen evidence of His presence today? How has He shown himself or spoken to you today?

The evidence is there in the natural world: the birds, the pine trees laced with snow, the sun behind the clouds. And even as we entered the deepest, coldest part of our winter, we had a long string of stunning sunsets and sunrises in the last two months.

There is no doubt that God wants people to know that He is here, and He is here now, in this day. He wants us to hear Him speaking to us.

He speaks in many ways and languages. For you, it may not be nature. It might be music, science, a personal interaction, some kindness, a miracle, His Word, the Spirit within.

Rebecca Hatch, one of the writers in the devotional I announced yesterday (Boundless: 40 Devotionals on Living the Gift), put it this way: “You and I were designed to soak up God’s presence in unique ways.”

Tell us in the comments: How have you seen Him, heard Him, and soaked in His presence today? You were designed for that!

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