Seasons of Life, Jumping to Conclusions, and Worry

by Ava Pennington

When we relocated from the northeast to Florida, one of the things we missed the most was the change of seasons. Native Floridians quickly advised us that, instead of winter, spring, summer, and fall, our seasons are snowbird, love bug, summer, and hurricane.

While the calendar tells us March 20th is the first day of spring, depending on where you live, your weather may not get the message. Like me, you may have to look for signs of spring in other ways.

One of those ways appeared in my own backyard a few days ago.

We have a pair of sandhill cranes who frequent our backyard. They must have a nest nearby, although I haven’t been able to locate it. A couple of months ago I was heartbroken to see one of the cranes without his mate. Sandhill cranes mate for life, so I grieved for this majestic bird and hoped the missing crane was only tending her nest.

She was. This week, we saw the whole family foraging for food: daddy, mommy, and two precious sandhill crane chicks that appeared to be balls of fluff with legs.

When I first noticed the single crane, I had assumed the worst, that his mate had died, and he would be alone for the rest of his life.

Why do we do that? Why do we jump to conclusions and assume terrible things before gathering all the facts? We allow ourselves to become anxious over what appears to have occurred, only to discover they have not happened. In the end, we prove the adage by author David Mamet, “Worry is the interest paid in advance on a debt that never comes due.”

I know better, yet I can fall back into old patterns of behavior. Uncertainty is an opportunity to trust my heavenly Father. But my actions don’t always reflect what I claim to believe. I need to be reminded of rock-solid truth when the future appears to be sinking sand.

The Bible has much to say on this subject. Perhaps these verses will be as helpful to you as they are to me: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV).

Good words. But if they are to help me, I must do more than just read them. I need to own them. Remind myself of them daily. Process them so my understanding and application is more than a mere academic exercise. I need to live them.

It’s not always easy. And I expect there will be times I’ll regress. Still, I’m grateful my heavenly Father does not give up on me. He provides reminders that during seasons of change I don’t need to jump to conclusions or expect the worst. His Holy Spirit encourages me so that I don’t have to respond to uncertainty with worry.

And, occasionally, He sends me a family of sandhill cranes to remind me that He’s still in control.

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. –Matthew 6:33-34 ESV

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the Author: Ava Pennington is an author, speaker, and Bible teacher. She’s also a freelance editor, and a certified coach for writers and speakers, and she teaches a weekly Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class. Ava is the author of Reflections on the Names of God: 180 Devotions to Know God More Fully (Revell Books, 2022), an abridged gift book edition of the one-year devotional, Daily Reflections on the Names of God. Three devotions for each name/attribute explore who God is, and how this changes us and our relationships. Visit her at www.AvaPennington.com to learn more.

Join the conversation: How do you handle uncertainty?

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3 thoughts on “Seasons of Life, Jumping to Conclusions, and Worry

  1. We all have a “default” response, don’t we. Remembering these passages and choosing to put aside that initial response is still a victory. Thanks for such a sweet message, Ava.

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  2. Ava, I’m relieved with you. Now that we live in Idaho, I’m seeing more geese than I’ve ever seen in my life. Unless they are in a group, it’s usually a pair that I see. I’ve been a “pair” for 52 years with my husband, Larry, and can’t imagine not being together. Being committed is hard but harder in the beginning and easier as we go along. Years ago I heard the advice, delete the word “divorce” from your vocabulary. Great idea for a stable marriage. May the parable of the cranes give us courage.

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