Birds of the Air
Jesus had (has) such a "way" with "word pictures".... He could sum up some of the most profound truths by putting them in every day stories that made them easy to understand, and difficult to forget.
There is a wonderful section of Scripture in Matthew 6, verses 25 to 34. In verse 26, Jesus bids us to "Look at the birds of the air...." Truly in many ways such vulnerable gentle creatures, and yet seemingly care and worry free, as they go about their days, and our "heavenly Father feeds them".
I want to share a couple of personal "bird" stories that have been "hard to forget" because they have seemed to go "deeper" in meaning somehow when considered with the "eyes of the Spirit".
Eyes that See
Mornings in spring can be so beautiful, with baby birds singing, often with the soft cooing of mourning doves providing a bit of background music. Such sweet birds, mourning doves.... So gentle, unassuming and ever-present (in fact, they often remind me of Jesus, the "Man of Sorrows" Himself for those reasons).
"He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering." (Isaiah 53: 3a)
Several years ago, while waiting for the school bus with our son one morning, I remember being shocked and saddened to see a mourning dove walking aimlessly on the driveway. It quickly became apparent that he had been blinded (most likely by some cat or other predator's attack that left him without eyes). Somehow, it reminded me of us.... The "enemy" of our souls loves nothing better than to "take out our eyes", so that we wander aimlessly through life, vulnerable to his attack.... Unable to "see" his evil schemes against us as we unwittingly fall right into his trap at times.
At the same time, I find comfort in knowing that the Man of Sorrows, understands, and came to "give sight to the blind".... (Luke 4: 18-19, John 9: 39)
"As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, 'Have mercy on us, Son of David!' When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, 'Do you believe that I am able to do this?'
'Yes, Lord,' they replied. Then he touched their eyes and said 'According to your faith will it be done to you'; and their sight was restored." (Matthew 9: 27-30a)
Feet Shod with the Gospel of Peace
Several days ago, a similar encounter with an injured bird seemed quite profound "in the Spirit". My husband called me outside where he had heard a commotion, and discovered a robin who had somehow gotten his legs/feet lodged between the slats of a wooden fence. A neighbor's cat was lunging at the poor defenseless bird from a parallel fence a couple of feet away, terrorizing the robin, who flapped his wings frantically, but was unable to fly away because his feet were stuck. The more he panicked and tried to fly, the more deeply his feet became entangled in the slats.
It took a while, but working together, my husband held off the cat, and I took an old pillow case, covered the bird's frightened little body, and we pried open the slats and pulled out his feet. It was such a sorry sight.... Thankfully, he was alive (although in total shock for sure), but his tiny legs were quite crushed, and at least one of his wings seemed to be injured to some extent, or out of joint.
We weren't exactly sure what to do, so we ended up putting him in (of all things:) a cat carrier we had, and leaving him outside for the night, covered and protected from predators, with some water in a dish. He was apparently alive, but wasn't looking very well, obviously in serious shock ... unclear whether he'd even make it through the night.
Thankfully, not only did he make it through until the morning, he actually looked more alert and responsive. I went in search of worms to get him something to eat, and only found one tiny worm and a few bugs. As an aside, I never realized what hard work it IS to be a bird ... those worms aren't as easy to find as they seem ... and now I know why the little robins seem to follow after gardeners who've finished their work for the day :) ....
At this point, it wasn't clear whether he'd be able to eat anything or not.... So I opened the top of the cat carrier, and tried to put the little bugs in where he could find them, although he seemed quite disinterested. I eventually decided to try to use a pair of tweezers to lower the tiny worm to his beak.
Suddenly, he stunned me (and maybe himself) as I reached my hand in and he immediately SHOT out of the top of the carrier, flying off toward a nearby tree. Before he even landed, a blue jay tried to attack him, and then another ROBIN even tried to fight with him (not sure what THAT was all about, maybe the sudden speed of his flight...) I watched him try to land on a branch of the tree, but obviously his injured feet couldn't hold him there, so he fluttered a bit, and then flew to a neighbor's yard, and soon returned to our yard, landing on the ground. Another robin came by shortly and hopped around him a bit.
I walked over to where he was to see if I could give him the worm, but he scooted over beneath some bushes, wanting nothing to do with me. I figured under there, at least he'd have a fighting chance to be shielded from predators as he tried to recuperate, so I put a little dish of water back there and hoped for the best for the little guy.
I don't know if he'll make it or not. I hope so....
Again though, the similarity to our lives sometimes "in the Spirit" seemed poignant. At times our "enemy" treats us much like that cat treated the robin. Just out of reach for doing us real harm, but swatting at us mercilessly, and scaring us so profoundly that we "flap our wings" trying to escape our situations, ending up hopelessly entangled, and DOING OURSELVES HARM in the process. Our feet that Jesus has designed to be "fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace" (Ephesians 6: 15) become instead disabled by our own fears.
Thankfully, again, the Man of Sorrows is in the business of causing the lame to walk....
"Jesus replied, 'Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk....' " (Matthew 11: 4-5)
"The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing." (Matthew 15: 31)
Wings of Eagles
That morning a couple of days ago, it wasn't clear if that little bird would be able to do ANYTHING, or even be alive at all. It amazed me so when he simply rose up seemingly effortlessly and flew with all his might to FREEDOM.
If, as you "consider the birds of the air", you find yourself identifying with these little ones ... perhaps the enemy's attacks have left you spiritually "blinded", or your own fears and efforts to free yourself have caused you to be hopelessly bound up and disabled ... my prayer would be that the gracious Man of Sorrows, Jesus Himself would reach His hand out toward you, bringing inner healing, peace and strength.
That robin who tried so hard to free himself only ended up more "stuck" in the process. Ultimately, he had to SURRENDER to OUR efforts to rescue him. Perhaps YOU might consider whether it's time for you to "surrender" as well. Whatever the condition of your relationship with Jesus (or lack thereof), His heart is continually "toward" you to "save" you--just as our only intent was to save and protect the little bird (frightening as WE may have seemed to him).
If you have an ongoing relationship with Jesus already, I pray that by His grace, you will be able to surrender to whatever His will is in your life (for surely, it is for your ultimate good).
If you have yet to come into a relationship with Him, and these words have caused a yearning and curiosity in your heart, please consider visiting the following URL where you will find out more about getting to know Jesus personally:
Whatever the case, I pray that this very day, the Holy Spirit of Jesus Himself will touch your heart, release you from your fears, and cause you to soar on eagles' wings, FREE in Him.
"Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, 'My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God'? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40: 27-31)
May He always be the wind beneath your wings....