The pain was real, even if the cause is now forgotten and buried in the dust of twenty-some years’ passing. But I do remember the heartache I felt that day–

pain that made me wonder if God cared,

pain that prompted me to cry out for assurance that I wasn’t alone in my sorrow.

God, listen! Listen to my prayer,
    listen to the pain in my cries.
Don’t turn your back on me
    just when I need you so desperately. Psalm 102:1,2   MSG


Later that morning as I passed a window on the west side of the house, I saw three birds perched in the tall shrubbery:  a male cardinal, a male goldfinch, and a male indigo bunting.

IMG_7828 crop 8x10-021


Was it a coincidence that these three birds, arrayed in primary-colored feathers, should be sitting

. . . in the same bush

. . . at the same time

. . . on the side nearest the window

. . . soon after I had prayed for comfort?

What are the odds?

Call to me and I will answer you.   Jeremiah 33:3

I called. God answered.

*           *           *           *           *

Sometimes He answers our prayers in a vibrant, multi-colored “yes.”

But what if God answers differently?

Sometimes, for our own good and the good of others, He must say “no.”

My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.   Psalm 22:2   NIV

Sometimes the answer is “wait,” and we learn to lean close to our Savior and rest, however impatiently, in his grace and loving-kindness.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
    more than watchmen wait for the morning,   Psalm 130:5,6   NIV

*           *           *           *           *

The word “trifecta,” (originally from the world of betting on horse races) now also describes a situation where three components come together at the same time 1 or an accomplishment that “involves three successful outcomes.” 2 

The cardinal, goldfinch, and indigo bunting’s appearance was an avian trifecta of reassurance during a painful time in my life.

God hears and answers our prayers with the trifecta of replies: “yes,” “no,” or “wait.” Each is a successful outcome of the prayer process.

My prayer for us all:

May we continue to turn to the Lord with our heartaches and thankful hearts. May we seek, recognize, and accept God’s answers to our prayers, confident in His great love for us.

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.   Psalm17:6   NIV


What I do, God, is wait for you,
    wait for my Lord, my God—you will answer!
I wait and pray. . .   Psalm 38:15   MSG


Listen, God, I’m calling at the top of my lungs:
    “Be good to me! Answer me!”
When my heart whispered, “Seek God,”
    my whole being replied,
“I’m seeking him!”
    Don’t hide from me now!   Psalm27:7-9   MSG


A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!   Matthew 15:22   NIV


Answer me when I call to you,
    my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
    have mercy on me and hear my prayer.   Psalm 4:1   NIV


Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!   Matthew 7:9-11   NIV


I’ve thrown myself headlong into your arms—
    I’m celebrating your rescue.
I’m singing at the top of my lungs,
    I’m so full of answered prayers.   Psalm 13:5-6   MSG


goldfinch and three sunflowers photo by Barb Briggs
indigo bunting photo by By Dawn Scranton from Cornwall, Ontario, Canada (Indigo Bunting) [CC BY 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons


Posted on September 4, 2015, in Devotional and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. This is a seriously great post, and I needed it tonight. Thank you.

  2. So lovely!! What beautiful birds!! What an awesome answer… I’m always been partial to birds because they remind me that he will take care of us.

  3. WOW, Connie…this post is gorgeous! The “avian trifecta of reassurance” is an amazing testimony to His attentive heart. Yes, his eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me.

  4. laurathomasauthor

    What a beautiful post! Both the images and the words are exquisite and a perfect reminder of our Heavenly Father who is SO full of love for us. Thanks for sharing. Stopping by from Holley’s 🙂

  5. The photos are stunning. Your words and choices of scripture are encouraging as well as instructional. I love the idea of a trifecta. I have heard it before but the term trifecta was not used. Thank you for sharing this at Weekend Whispers.

    • Thank you, Mary! I had a “aha” moment when I saw the secondary meanings of “trifecta.” Isn’t it amazing how God can use such a variety of topics to speak to us?
      I do so appreciate the work you do hosting Weekend Whispers.

  6. GORGEOUS photos and I love learning a new word.

  7. Oh, I love this. Cardinals are a personal reminder for me of the presence of God. Thank God for his creatures who comfort!

  8. Beautiful photos! Love that sometimes God answers us in all the splendor of a trifecta and other times it is quieter and smaller. Either way, I’m glad He answers!

  9. Lori Schumaker of Seaching for Moments

    Hi Constance,
    Such a beautiful post. I’m so sorry for the pain in your past, but I am thankful for how you have allowed God to use it to encourage the hearts of others. The photos, the words, and your heat – all such a beautiful encouragement and testimony. Thank you!
    Blessings and smiles,

    • Thanks, Lori! That is my continuing prayer, that the words and photos are encouraging to others. I think God has done more than just wipe away the tears (in this instance). He’s taken away the feeling and the memory of the why. All that remains is God’s tender encouragement. Glory!

  10. “If we ask anything according to his will he hears us”; it is a great comfort to know that we are heard.

  11. I’m a bird addict, a flower addict, a cloud addict, and a Word addict. You just grabbed my heart and made me smile. Thank you so very much!!

  12. No such thing as coincidence! I love how God gifts us with birds! Beautiful words and photos!

  13. Constance,
    I love the “trifecta” of answers from God: Yes, No, and Wait. So often I have not thought of “wait” as an answer, but truly it is. I believe, perhaps, it is the answer that grows our degree of trust in God the most. I have been in “wait” mode for awhile on a question asked, but I’ve had to learn to let go and trust God’s timing. Thank you for sharing His beautiful answer to you with three beautiful birds designed by His hand. So glad I stopped by!

    • Bev, I’m so glad you stopped by to read and took the time to comment. You’re right that waiting makes us trust in God.
      Sometimes we’re like little kids at a birthday party. We get a “yes” present from the Lord, forget to say “thank you” and hurry on to the next gift. Waiting can develop the relationship.

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