Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Journey to the River

“Why, I’ll be,” our neighbor said, blinking his eyes and jutting his head forward. “Look over there in Adina’s driveway.”

Following his pointing finger, we gaped at a flock of baby mallards--11 of them!

Where had the ducklings come from? And, with the river at least a quarter of a mile away, where were they going? We expected a mother duck to waddle out from the bushes, but none appeared.

The mallards rapidly meandered through our neighbor's yard and onto the alley. My daughter and I decided to follow them at a discreet distance. Though taking an indirect route, their tiny leader appeared to know their destination. One utterly exhausted baby hunkered down on the road to rest from time to time, peeping until the other ducklings noticed he had fallen behind and waited for him to catch up.

My heart went out to the ducklings. As the tiny black and yellow creatures continued their journey to the river, I silently prayed that the Lord would protect them from traffic and neighborhood cats.

We helplessly watched them tumble down a steep embankment to the railroad tracks which follow the river. Too short to step or even jump over the tracks, they trooped up and down, searching for a way through the rails. Though they couldn't see the water at all, they knew what direction they needed to go.

Each time my daughter and I stealthily inched close enough to rescue the desperate little flock, they scurried off in the opposite direction. Several people who lived along the tracks noticed the ducklings’ problem; one resourceful fellow figured out a way to help.

Corralling them into an unused barbecue pit, he gently placed the mallards into a bucket and carried them down to his dock. As he turned the ducklings loose, the mother duck flew out onto the river, quacking loudly to her babies. We hadn't seen her before because she had gone ahead to the river to wait for them. The ducklings quickly glided across the water to join her. They all made it safely to their destination, even the tired straggler. I silently thanked the Lord for leading the little flock.

As I thought about that journey of the ducks, the words of Proverbs 3:5 and 6 came to my mind; "Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in everything you do, and He will show you the right way."

Everyone feels overwhelmed by challenges that seem impossible, frustrated by unchanging circumstances or anxious about situations beyond our control. Proverbs assures us that we can lean on God in every area of our lives; we need not rely only on ourselves.

The Lord cared about that journey of those little misplaced ducks. He made sure they reached their destination. He cares about us, too. He has a destination, a plan for our lives—Jeremiah 29:11 says so: “I alone know the plans I have for you—plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.” (GNT)

Just as the mother duck trusted God to bring her babies safely to the river, we can trust God to bring about what is best for us and for our loved ones.

©2011 Pamela D. Williams