I stood there, frozen, starring at the broadcast. I had turned on the 5 o’clock news and I stood in the middle of my living room unable to take my eyes off the television screen.
Baby birds. Tiny, newborn, baby birds had fallen from the safety of their mother’s nest into a wire net high above the city subway. The travelers below were unable to help as the net was too high. The baby birds, covered in new feathers struggled for hours in the hot sun without the food their mother could provide. No one came to their rescue. Even the mama bird was unable to pull them out of the clutches of the wire, their little heads writhing as they struggled for release. The news showed every detail which seemed to go on for several minutes, but captured hours of what had happened that day. They interviewed people below who shared anger the metro had installed the netting. Others said they wanted to climb up and save the birds, but could not figure out how to reach them. Finally, at the end, the broadcaster said all 3 baby birds died before metro rail engineers could post a ladder to free them.
It has been a couple of weeks and still the ache in my gut remains as I picture those helpless birds. I have been angry and even sick to my stomach at the thought of something so little, so precious, suffering. Even though they were only birds, my heart still aches. It aches because no one could reach in and stop their suffering, even though many wanted to, intended to. There are so many things I wish I could fix, suffering I wish I could end. But I am not able. And the ache continues.
Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are?”
If we are FAR MORE VALUABLE than the birds, what does that MEAN? If the birds matter to God…If not a single sparrow falls from the sky without His notice, than what does that mean about us?
It means we matter. It means the God of our Universe aches with a deeper ache than we do because of our suffering. In my perfect world, there would be no suffering, no tears, just 30-minute sitcoms where problems are solved and people move on and life is peachy. But, that is so NOT reality. Life hurts. We suffer. We cry out with an aching heart to the God Who Hears.
This morning at church, I heard the most amazing message about tears. The teacher taught us that God holds our tears in a bottle, He redeems through tears, we are still, prior to Heaven in a place of tears as we live life here on earth. My soul literally wanted to scream, “YES! YES! YES!” as he spoke. I agree whole heartily that it is often necessary to let ourselves feel the pain, endure the suffering, rather than, as he said, “Try to get over it.” His final word was, “The goal is not to ‘get over it’, but rather to rest in the arms of Jesus,” Who loves us deeply, Who sees our value, Who thinks we are precious and Who cries when we cry.
Thinking back to the baby birds, another spiritual truth comes to mind: We are helpless. Despite our education, social status, beauty, accomplishments, wealth, family, friends. In reality, we are helpless. Just like those baby birds, even these things cannot help us when suffering comes. There is only ONE Who can and will rescue. Only One Who has no limitations of time, no restrictions of ability, no limit of resources. Only Jesus Christ is able to do the impossible when hope is gone and death feels eminent.
I have been there, caged in by another kind of net, trapped by emotions so powerful they felt like a tsunami within my very soul, able to drown me. And I was afraid. I still am some days- to let them come, to be willing to feel them, to cry the tears that fill my heart, to cry out to My Shepherd and let Him hold me in the quiet hours.
“Oh Lord, apart from you I am nothing! Apart from you I can do nothing! I am like the baby bird, wrestling to be set free. Be still my soul. Rest. With You I can do all things. For You are my strength. You are the One Who sets the captive free. You are my Hero,Who reaches out, reaches down to little, seemingly insignificant me, and says, “I’ve got this. You are more valuable. I see you. I hear your tears.”
Like the birds of the air, I want to soar! Jesus continues to help me fly higher and higher, but with each lift, there comes pain, suffering and times of testing. And, I surrender again and again because I have tasted of His goodness and I never want to be tethered again to my past sins and patterns of behavior. I want to fly, free as a bird!