Take the latest. Besides the trough outside my window, we also have two hanging feeders out in the yard, another on the corner of the field on the other side of the house, and two suet cages hanging by the window next to the trough. The suet blocks in those cages get the most traffic in the cooler weather. Suddenly, not just meat eaters (bug meat, this is) but also seed eaters who need more fat in the cold are thronging the things. Access can be a problem. With sparrows or wrens, several can and will hang onto the cages containing the suet all at one time, happily pecking away, share and share alike. But larger birds take up too much room for that. With a 4 by 4 inch block of suet, an 8 inch cardinal, or a 9 inch catbird, or a 10 inch blue jay have no room to share, even if they wanted to—which most of those varieties don't.
Then there is the swing factor. One cage is hooked to a tiny bar by a five inch chain, similar to a charm bracelet chain. It sways back and forth a bit when a bird lands, takes off, or simply sits on the old TV antenna next to it and pecks at it, but the arc is fairly small and the swing barely noticeable. The other one is hooked to a higher bar by a cord a good 2 feet long. Now this one can really get to moving, both in a back and forth arc and also in rotation.
The catbird loves suet, but he much prefers the cage on the short chain. Devious me, when that one runs out, I leave it empty for a while and force the birds to use the one on the longer cord. Otherwise it would never be eaten. The first time that catbird landed on that cage it started turning like a merry-go-round. He moved back a forth a bit, trying to counterbalance the rotation, but the more he moved, the faster it turned. Finally, he became so upset that he started flapping his wings while still hanging on with his feet and before long the centrifugal force had nearly flung him off. He flew away in self-defense. But he does love that suet, so he keeps coming back.
Yesterday he made a breakthrough. He has finally learned that if he lands on it and stands totally still, it will eventually slow down enough for him to be able to lean over and peck the suet with very little sway factor or rotation. He overcame his panic and let the laws of physics and gravity slow the turn simply by being still. Can birds learn these things? Well, I guess he learned something because we no longer break out in fits of laughter watching him rotate like a spinning top and somehow avoid being slung off into the azaleas.
Sometimes we get just like that catbird. Life starts throwing us around, flinging us back and forth, trying to completely throw us away from the very thing that can stabilize us and feed our souls—God. If we just stop flailing about, stop going in all directions, stop trying to take care of things ourselves and just let God take control, many times the situations we find ourselves in will completely disappear, and the ones that don't will suddenly become more manageable. I know for myself that the very things that have kept me awake all night suddenly have simple solutions the next day when I just quit trying to control everything myself and hand them over to God.
Back in the early 1960s a musical ran in London called "Stop the World I Want to Get Off." It follows the life of a man who, every time something happened which he didn't like, cried out that title line. In fact, the whole show stopped and he would talk to the audience about it. The catbird, if he could have talked, might have said the same thing, and in the beginning did "get off" the suet cage, but he knew he needed that suet so he kept coming back and learned how to deal with it.
We can't get off the cage—or the world. We have to learn, just like that catbird, how to cope, and we have a Father who will help us if we will only let Him. So be still and let Him.
Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. — Selah (Pause) (Ps 46:10-11)