CRADLED: Part 3 of Sifted and Cherished

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The thump was unmistakable.  We’d heard that sound against our window many times before.  Songbirds sometimes come face to face with the harsh reality that all is not as it seems. What appears to be a clear flight path often results in a deadly roadblock.

My girls, just in from playing outside, heard the sound and immediately went into rescue mode.  They raced back out of the house.

“Mommmmm, hurry!”  They called.  “We think it’s still alive!”  “Oscar was stalking it, but we chased him off and scooped it up!”  Our loving and adorable cat suddenly became a predator.  Apparently the girls reached the unconscious bird just in time.

Stepping out of the kitchen door, I saw them,  grubby hands cradling a small, tufted titmouse.  Eyes full of compassion, they asked if it would live.  They were beautiful in the truest sense of the word.

I carefully took the little bird and examined it.   It opened its eyes, but stayed very still as the girls stroked it with butterfly-gentle fingertips.  After a few seconds, the bird moved from its side and crouched into my hand, clearly disoriented.

Excited that the bird had survived a head on collision with the windowpane, the girls recounted how  they had  zoomed in and whisked the bird’s unconscious body from the maw of their beloved Oscar, saving it from certain death.

My children’s animal rescue history is made of many stories; ranging from that of a baby bunny trapped in a bucket to that of a lizard, the size of a fingernail, snared in a spider’s web.

The principles of rest, healing and release became an established pattern for all creatures saved by their caring hands.  The unfortunate animals that didn’t survive, or were found already in a state of demise, were carefully and properly buried.  Prayers were said, flowers brought to the grave, and in some cases, tiny tombstones erected.

Once, after discovering a frog who had met his end, they debated about the appropriate way to lay a water creature to rest.  My youngest suggested a Viking theme.  In short order, the frog was laid in state on a barge made of bark with a leafy sail and set afloat in the creek.  They thought it would be authentic to ignite the barge, but that’s where I drew the line.

The titmouse stirred in my hand, perhaps still confused, but seemingly unafraid.

“Can we keep it?” they asked.  Even before they shaped the words, I knew they knew that wild things needed to be free, and this time, the pattern was the same as it always was. But truths, no matter how well learned, are sometimes questioned.

“When she’s ready, you know we need to set her free,” I said.

She stayed in our hands long enough to get her bearings and allow us to get a few pictures.  Gently taking the bird, my youngest placed her on a finger and held her aloft.  “Fly!” she said. “Fly freeee!”  With a new lease on life, the bird spread its wings and flew into the sunshine.

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I like to think the next song she sang was one of rejoicing.

If you are a believer, then at one time in your life, you came face to face with the harsh reality that a roadblock of sin stood between you and God.  Maybe it sent you reeling.  You knew that you were helpless to save yourself.  At that point of humble awareness and confession, God scooped you up and brought you to the cross, where the grubby, compassionate hands of His Son, a carpenter, held onto that cross for you.  An exchange was made; your sin became His, His life became yours.

In that salvation moment, you got a new lease on life.  Your spirit became alive in Christ and Christ became alive in you. God stopped defining you by your sinful nature and started defining you as His child, cradled in His hand, cherished by His heart.

2 Corinthians 5:14-17 says:

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.  And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.  So from now on, we regard no one from a worldly point of view.  Though we once regarded Christ this way, we do so no longer.  THEREFORE IF ANYONE IS IN CHRIST, THE NEW CREATION HAS COME.  THE OLD HAS GONE, THE NEW IS HERE!”

When you claim Jesus as your Savior, personal creation happens.  God makes you a new creation.  The word creation in that verse has the same meaning as the word used when the Bible speaks of God creating the world in Genesis.  John Wesley (British theologian, 1703-1791) says this:

“Only the power that makes the world can make a Christian.  The Christian has new life, new senses, new faculties, new affections, new appetites, new ideas, new conceptions.”

That means we stop seeing ourselves as the world suggests we should.  We quit defining our success and our self-worth by worldly standards.  We refuse to  base our sense of self on our careers, our performance, our wardrobes, our appearance, our size or our weight, because those are all worldly things.  We don’t allow our past and our failures to guilt us, because, in Christ, we are forgiven.  We are made new.

Thinking like that is a tall order.

I wonder if the bird questioned, as she nestled in my hand, her ability to fly. Did she agonize over the possibility of colliding with yet another window?  I doubt it.   Life pulsed through her wings. She was saved from death by grubby hands and compassionate love.  She looked beyond the shadow of the carport and saw the light of open spaces. Freedom called.  She took the chance that she could fly, and she did.

Believe that you are a new creation, in Jesus.  Look beyond worldly ideas that stalk you, and know the light of truth that shines from the Word of God is the same, always.  Focus on the character of Jesus to learn what God’s standards are.  Count on the Holy Spirit who lives in you and enables you to be free of worldly snares.

John 8:34-36

“I tell you the truth everyone who sins is a slave to sin.  Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.  So, if the Son sets you free, YOU ARE FREE INDEED.”

Believer, fly free.

 

 

 

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