Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…
I grew up next to Lake Michigan and there was a large marsh nearby called Grand Mere where ducks and geese were abundant. Waterfowl have always held such a fascination for me whether watching them fly in formation, land in a marsh or pond or just swim and feed. If I had gone into Wildlife as a career, it would have been as a waterfowl biologist.
One of the interesting details that I learned about waterfowl is that they have a tiny oil-secreting gland located at the base of their tail known as the uropygial gland or ‘Preen Gland’. When a duck is preening, as we have all seen, its head and beak are spreading this oil over its feathers. This oil helps to maintain the luster of the feathers and makes the outer feathers waterproof. Without this protective barrier, a duck’s feathers would become water-logged.
Water is a fact of life for waterfowl. It is not just an occasional thing that these birds encounter once in awhile. The daily preening creates and maintains this protective barrier for them. Think about all the things that happen in our lives, on a daily basis that can cause us to respond in a way harmful to ourselves and others: change, the unexpected, criticism, bad news, insults, the thoughtlessness of others, additional work to be done, disappointment, discouragement. I’m sure you can think of more.
Remember the expression, “Like water off a duck’s back”? The water just rolls off – it doesn’t penetrate or soak in. Now, think about all those items we just mentioned. They
happen – all the time! God’s plan is for us to be protected from the negative effective they can have. But we play a role in the development and maintenance of that protective ‘barrier’. Our focus and trust must be upon the Lord – not the circumstances. Trusting in Him means we don’t succumb to discouragement because we don’t know the answers to the challenges facing us.
If our focus and trust aren’t in the Lord, we likely become ‘water-logged’ with anxiety and fear. The ‘adventures’ in our lives are opportunities for us to hold steady in Him. Think of it – what the oil in the ‘Preen Gland’ does for a duck, faith and trust in the Lord does for a Christian. When regularly and actively applied, they provide a protective barrier enabling us to live securely and walk faithfully through the challenges that come.