A Dove on His Head!
Discerning God’s will for one’s life can be a frightening and frustrating experience, especially when a person’s livelihood is concerned. Changing jobs can produce intense anxiety; changing professions can be downright debilitating. Jack had been in the business of hospital administration for almost a quarter of a century, but, more and more, his old spark seemed to be diminishing where work was involved. He no longer relished meeting each new day; at middle age he found himself in an increasingly dissatisfying vocational crisis. It was then that he started contemplating a change in professions. But change to what? His love of nature and wildlife called enticingly, and Jack wondered if he might make a go of it as proprietor of a wild bird supplies shop. It was a risk; there were no guarantees that the town where he lived would support such an establishment. There were no precedents on which to gauge its likelihood of success, so the venture was a shaky one. Jack knew one thing, though—he had to make a change. But was he daring enough to risk it all? Should he follow his heart and go the “natural” route, or should he just stick it out with the hospital and endure several more years of a sure thing? He decided to take a few days off for prayer and discernment, seeking a word from the Lord about the direction his life should take.
One day during this time, Jack was outdoors, taking recyclables out to their designated bins, when he noticed a mourning dove light on one of the bins and then onto a tool container under Jack’s carport. Fearful that the dove might get entangled in the ceiling fan under the carport, Jack cautiously edged his way to the trapped bird and tried to shoo it outside again. Much to his surprise, however, an incredible thing happened. The dove fluttered a bit and then came to rest right on the top of his head. To have this unexpected, close encounter with a wild bird was a sweet and rare moment for Jack, the nature lover. Amazingly, the dove exhibited no signs of panic and even curled its head under its wing in a show of tender trust.
“Rosie, Rosie,” Jack called to his wife who came to the door and not only saw the once in a lifetime spectacle but even managed to grab a camera to take a timely snap as proof of its occurrence. In spite of all the flurry, the bird was far from camera shy, not flinching as Rosie advanced but remaining firmly planted on Jack’s head.
After a bit, Jack walked over to one of the feeders in his yard, bending down to encourage the little passenger to hop off its perch. “How about a bite to eat?” he urged, but the dove, reluctant to leave, took the cue only after Jack literally pushed it onto the feeder. Had this been the end of the encounter, Jack would have been amply satisfied, but there was more to come!
About an hour later, Jack, fully convinced that the fluke encounter was a done deal, became engrossed in a project inside the carport when his feathered friend reappeared, this time lighting on the boat that was parked there.
“Surely, this couldn’t happen again,” Jack thought as he approached the dove, bowing his head down in quiet invitation. Incredibly, his docile friend hopped aboard for a second ride, this time allowing Jack to take him on a tour of the yard, inspecting feeders and birdbaths, remaining all the while in an attitude of perfect trust—an unbelievable thirty minutes in all! As before, Jack had to nudge his passenger onto a feeder in order to make him abandon his roost.
An hour later, when Jack noticed the dove sitting on a fence post, he stepped out of the house onto his patio whereupon the truly unthinkable happened. The dove landed on his head a third time, once more remaining rooted to the spot until Jack shook him off.
It was then, Jack knew without a doubt, that the word of direction he had sought had come in a way he would never have predicted. The Lord had spoken through this gentle bird. “I realized that I had been visited by the dove of peace,” Jack said, “and I was at ease with my decision.” He knew that the Lord had given His blessing on Jack’s dream and had even sent a wild bird to assure him to open up a shop dedicated to the needs of His winged creatures. Jack quit his old job and ventured into the new business, thankful that this uncanny and most unexpected little scenario had provided him with the inner certitude and confidence he needed to forge ahead.
The following day, Jack saw the dove again, but this time it steered clear as though to say, “Glad you got the message, Pal. Now I’m off.”
All of that happened three years ago. Today, Jack’s shop is thriving, catering to bird enthusiasts who, like him, respect the Lord’s creatures and His creation. There’s a new sparkle in Jack’s eye and a livelier pep in his walk. He has rediscovered enthusiasm for life, and so he won’t forget the divinely appointed messenger that directed him when he was floundering, he keeps those priceless snapshots handy—heartwarming reminders of God’s infinite concern for His winged and human friends.