Today I held a little bird in my hands. He had slammed into our front window and lay on the icy porch. He wasn’t moving and I was afraid he was dead. But I couldn’t leave him there, alone in the cold.
As I held him in my cupped hands, one of his little feet wrapped itself around my finger, just like an infant. Although nothing else moved and his eyes were still closed, it gave me hope.
So I sat there in the cold without a coat, as the voice of reason chided me for being silly.
Hah! You certainly haven’t changed. You are still the same kid who brought home strays and bandaged broken limbs. Don’t get your hopes up about this one…. Birds die every day….That’s just life.
I had to smile as I remembered the wild squirrel I had befriended as a child, the stray cats I fed, the many lost dogs who found and followed me home….and I remembered the bird I had rescued from the middle of a busy road a few years before. People honked in protest when I stopped traffic to pick up the large robin about to become road-kill, its right wing hanging useless. But that robin not only lived, he recovered and flew away healthy and whole three days later.
Surely this little bird could be saved.
When he opened his eyes and looked at me, he seemed more sleepy than fearful. I held my hands loosely around him– enough to warm but not confine him should he choose to fly away.
Then I breathed on him, hoping the heat would help him rally, and as his eyes struggled to stay open, I told him the story of the robin. And as I talked, I watched in awe as he began to warm and move in my hand.
By the time I was done with my story, he gathered his strength and flew away. Perhaps my incessant chatting was enough for him to risk death rather than hear even one more word of my encouragement.
In reality, I think there is a little more to this tale. Because I believe this is what God does for us.
I haven’t slammed into any big windows lately, but in the past, when I have been stunned by tragedy or left cold by betrayal, God has held me tenderly in His hands, gently warming my heart and breathing His spirit into me until I am strong enough to live again.
God will hold us when we are broken, telling and retelling us our story and reminding us of the promise we hold, over and over, until we believe Him. He will keep us close, safe and warm in His embrace until the sting fades; until we remember why we are here and are ready to fly once again.
And Jesus said “What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31 – (NLT)
I was inspired to write this poem today about my little brave sparrow:
Today a sparrow hit the window, falling cold upon the earth.
As light faded, the small life lay dying;
The Master saw the creature still, and mourned.
And Strength leaned down to lift the weak in tender embrace;
A silent prayer, a hope of warmth to save the fledgling from the cold.
Held, the tiny wings caressed and softened, first yielding, then cradled perfect.
As the Master whispered softly of the promise of one who rose to fly again.
Divine breath blew white upon him, and the sparrow’s eyes were opened.
And grasping his Maker’s fingers tightly, the warmth of flesh and heat of breath gathered strength and gave life.
Then the Master spoke to him:
“Little one I would love for you to stay with me, sheltered warm inside my hands… But that’s not who you are…. is it?”
Suddenly, a plane flew high overhead ,and looking up, the tiny sparrow took flight.
There was no hesitation and no looking back, for in that moment he remembered Who had created him and why.
And in honor of his Heavenly Father and considering his purpose, he soared.
For the sparrow was reborn.