I barely even noticed it, but somehow the small brown patch hidden amid the grass caught my attention.
I love the new life that colors the earth at springtime. Grass turns green, trees start blossoming in whites and pinks, yellow daffodils and red tulips wave from the flowerbeds, and blue and speckled eggs start to fill nests built among the tree branches.
One year when I was young I had the privilege to watch a nest that Momma Robin built right outside the schoolroom window. Countless hours were spent in erecting just the perfect structure to house the young. The eggs were laid, and after what seemed like an eternity, they slowly started to crack open. I watched wide-eyed as the pink, scrawny, birdlings fought and pushed their way from the egg. Oh, I wanted to help them so badly, but I had to sit back and watch and wait. I’ll be honest, they weren’t very cute; but slowly they grew fuzzy down, making them look absolutely adorable. Dad and Mom Robin kept them well fed with lots of worms (now that’s some hard parenting to be sure), and the baby birds grew bigger and stronger until it was time to leave the nest. They didn’t all go at once, but one by one they would make the plunge over the side of the nest and find their wings for the first time. That’s the way a bird’s life is supposed to be. Generations of birds have followed the same procedure and will continue to.
But once in awhile there is a baby bird that never gets to have a “normal life”. Those are the birds that never had a chance and fell from the nest during a storm or other such mishap.
That’s what the brown spot was in the grass- a baby bird had fallen and was now huddled there completely helpless. It opened its big beak as I walked by and squawked for help. What could I do? I couldn’t touch it or the mother would disown it, and I couldn’t adopt it because I had tried that already with other wild baby animals and it never went very well. So I decided to do what I could do and found some earthworms to drop with a tweezers into the bird’s beak. The bird finally stopped crying and happily went to sleep on a fully stomach.
The next morning I went out to check on the little bird, but it was no longer there. A cat or some other predator must have gotten to it during the night.
Ever since that happened a certain verse keeps ringing in my head, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6-7).
Lately there have been a lot of sickness and death affecting friends and family of my friends. It seems so meaningless when a senior drowns on a class trip, a young girl dies in a car crash and her sister is entrapped in a coma, or a mother with very small children dies from a brain tumor. It feels like life was unfair and snatched them away before it was the right time. They were the baby birds that never got the chance to live life like the other birds. One wants to shout out “Why, God? Don’t you care?”
I’m not going to try to explain or answer the “Why?” question. Christians have pat answers that they like to give at times of suffering, but those explanations are hard to understand amidst the pain. If you are looking for excellent reading material on pain, suffering, and answers to complex doubts to read on your own time and when you feel ready for it, I suggest When God Doesn’t Make Sense by Dr. James Dobson, The Problem of Pain/A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis, and Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Timothy Keller.
All I want to say is that God really does care. I want to reassure you in that for this minute, this hour, this day, this week, this month, this year, and all the years to come. I want to remind myself and hold to that when life grows dark and my path winds through a dark, lonely, clouded valley… because that is when the Enemy whispers that God is cruel, God is uncaring, God is impersonal, and God is nowhere to be found.
BUT- God sees even the smallest most insignificant bird fall and breathe its last breath, and it truly breaks His Heart. How much more does He care for us! His Heart breaks for the pain you are feeling, and His Tears fall when yours do.
He reaches out with those nail-scarred Hands and says, “Child, I know you don’t understand why I didn’t stop this. I understand that nothing makes sense, but I want to tell you that you’re not alone. I’ve been through the pain myself, and I’ll walk with you through this new pain in your life. Take my Hand and trust Me. One day all tears will be dried, the skies will clear, the pain will vanish, and your questions will be answered; but know till then and rest in the fact that you are of more value than many sparrows and I will love you until the end of time and for all eternity after that.”