Tuesday evening seemed like an ordinary Bible study for the 15 or so who gathered for a discussion of James 2, but God had other lessons for me. When a teenager screamed from the basement, our hostess hurried downstairs to find hysteria (not serious, just the teenage type) and a very agitated bird. No one seemed to know how it had gotten in the house, but the teens fed it corn chips and coaxed it into the bathroom and shut the door.
Our hostess said she would search for its owner and take it to the humane society. I had the next day off, so I volunteered to take the bird and resolve the situation. After all, you can’t just put a leash on it and walk it to the pet shop! We managed to get the bird in a box, and I let it loose in my laundry room for the night.
This was no ordinary bird. A few hours of research revealed it was a female rare blue Indian ring necked parrot, who needed a special diet and fresh fruits and vegetables. My laundry room testified to its previous party night of corn chips. What a mess! As I cleaned and tried to calm her, I was captivated by her beauty. She is a deep sky blue with bright orange eyes and a red hooked beak. I wondered how long she had been in the wild, though her pacing and squawking revealed the fear and trauma she had endured. I couldn’t even think about taking her to a shelter and throwing her to chance.
I spent the next few days shopping for the right food, organic fruits and vegetables, and looking for a kennel. Large bird cages cost a small fortune. She loves apples and oranges, and I spent hours making her eat her vegetables. In the back of my mind, I thought about birds living 35 years. Did I really want a bird until I’m 98? I was captivated by her elegance, and after a couple of days, she began showing off her vocabulary as she sat on my shoulder and pecked at my cheek. I’m an animal lover by nature, but this was different. I was falling in love with this bird.
In the meantime, our hostess emailed me about the bird. More than one person offered to adopt her, but I couldn’t imagine putting her through more change and adjustment. She was so nervous and afraid of everyone except me. I had to take care of her, didn’t I? And so, my week was consumed with constructing a proper place for her to live, and feeding her food that would make her healthy, and gaining her trust and affection. I pushed the occasional thoughts about doing this for the next 35 years out of my mind. She needed me, and I was hooked.
On Friday evening, I was praying about all the things I usually pray about—our nation, our church, my children and grandchildren, and for wisdom and revelation to do the will of God. I waited as I felt God’s presence settle in my room. What about the bird?
Yes, God. What about the bird? I love her. She is beautiful!
You haven’t talked to Me about the bird.
Actually, no, I haven’t.
In a moment, I knew that this was not about me wanting a bird, or someone else wanting the bird. It was about what God wanted. He gently took me to the place we have discussed many times–A situation arises, and I immediately go into problem solving mode. I run around and expend lots of energy, and work hard, and enact my own solution, and demand what I think is the very best outcome. Then God stops me in my tracks. Why haven’t I learned this lesson by now!!!
OK, God, let’s talk about the bird.
Who is responsible for taking care of birds?
(Hint: read the Book!)
God reminded me that when Noah didn’t know what to do, God sent a bird to give him the message. At Jesus’ baptism, God needed the crowds to understand the presence of the Holy Spirit. He sent the message with a bird. Actually, God singles birds out of all his animal creations to let us know how much He cares for them.
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31
Isn’t that amazing? God is a bird man. Of all His creation, He chose them for bright colors, and variety, and striking beauty, and peaceful singing, and His messengers to announce sunrise.
I get it, God. You are the One who will take care of this bird. After all, You have been doing it for thousands of years.
So I jumped out of bed on Saturday morning at 5:00 a.m. and I emailed her rightful caretaker. And as we loaded her up, I was not giving her away to an unknown future. I gave her back to God. You see, He brought her supernaturally into the middle of our Bible study because His eye is always on the birds, and He loves her. Though it took me a week to hear His voice, I now understand God was patiently working a plan. He moved her into her next phase of mission where she will supernaturally teach a young man how much He loves birds—and how much more valuable we are than many of them!!