Saturday, May 21, 2016

Sparrows, Surprises and the Sovereignty of God

Five baby sparrows in a three bedroom home!
There are “Welcome” signs in the form of birdhouses all around the yard. Some have vacancies others are occupied. None however, are located under our back porch. So, knowing there was housing available, I was a little surprised to find the beginnings of a bird nest tucked into a potting soil bag that was resting in our wheelbarrow. Mrs. Sparrow and I both did a bit of a squawk and a flutter upon our mutual discovery. I assured her she was welcome to stay; I could wait until she raised her brood before I scooped from “her” bag. I promised not to harm her family in any way. Indeed, I thought it was a brilliant location and was quite honored she allowed us to watch her little family grow.  

Equally brilliant Mr. Sparrow allowed his Mrs. to have complete control in the building and construction phase. It was a dandy little nest, just right for three little babies. The finely appointed cradle was finished just in time for the placement of three adorable light blue eggs. Then, surprise! When we came by for our inspection the next day, two more eggs had appeared! 

Multiple inspections later, some tiny “peeps” let us know some babies had hatched. With a gentle lift of their bag door, three naked babies were visible, so I made the proper introductions. Like any good neighbor, I checked in frequently and was pleased to see the remaining two safely hatched the next day.

In a bungalow built for three, I worried about the crowded situation. Naturally, the firstlings were stronger and stepped up higher in the nest over Babies Four and Five but it wasn’t the first rodeo for Mom and Pop. They organized a feeding plan of about one bug per minute alternating between Mom and Pop for all five hungry little mouths, uhm, beaks. That’s a lot of creepy crawlies!

After a steady diet from the critter smorgasbord for several days the tiny peeps turned into demanding screams. Precious little baby fuzz sprouted into baby feathers. My (well, Mrs. Sparrow’s) babies were growing up!

We didn’t have it marked on OUR calendar, but “Leave the Nest Day” came and we got to watch! This little guy started the exodus. He shot out but, didn’t know where to go, so he lit on this screen window until he could assess the situation. Mom and Pop called for him to come out into the yard, so he opened up his brand new wings and flew to them. That brought out Two and Three. They only made it up to the eave of the porch. They looked around for several minutes to get their bearings and finally heard their call from Mom and Pop and joined them (and One and Two.)

Babies Four and Five were desperate to not be left alone and came out of their comfy apartment but were unable to fly as well as their older siblings. Southern hospitality requires that I do what I can to help, so I did what I could to usher the clumsy siblings into the general direction of their family.

Bless their itty bitty hearts, they were perfectly fine in their nice little home (complete with room service) until someone got the bright idea to go explore the world and left them behind to fend for themselves. Not only that, a giant was following them and making all sorts of funny faces and motions to them, and Mom and Pop were nowhere to be found. They hopped around and stopped from time to time to “cheep” but there was no reply. They couldn’t see what I saw. Mom and Pop were taking care of One, Two, and Three. They were not far away, they just didn’t answer right away.
With some encouragement, I was able to guide Four to the rest of the gang. Little Five, the baby, was heartbroken. He didn’t even have the heart to try. He wouldn’t hop or chirp. He just sat all alone, his head down in despair. He appeared to accept his fate of life alone and abandoned and probably eaten or squished (Southern for crushed) by this giant woman. I told him his “family is only a few yards away and a new and wonderful life is ahead of him – different from life in the nest, but wonderful just the same. Just hold on” but, he couldn’t understand.

It was only a couple of minutes, but finally Mom chirped his name and his little downcast head
popped up. I got behind him and prompted him to hop a half-hearted hop toward his family. Another chirp from Mom led him to take another baby hop in the right direction. Finally, Mommy Sparrow came out from under a bush and chirped loud and clear, and Baby Five saw her. He ran with all the strength his little baby-bird legs could muster straight to her and they disappeared under the bush amid lots of congratulatory chirps, peeps and flutters.

I thought about what I had just witnessed in terms of God and life and His plans for us. Life has certainly thrown me some surprises, maybe you have experienced that too. When life takes a turn that sseems unfair or I don’t understand much less know what to do, these are some thing I try to remember.

  • I remember that He knew me before I was born and knows the number of days I will be here. “Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance and in Thy book, they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” Psalm 139:16
  • I remember (whatever it is) it is not a surprise to God. “Oh, LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; for You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.” Isaiah 25:1 “…He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world..” Ephesians 1:4
  • I remember God is there whether or not I can see or hear Him, and I need not be afraid. “Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 “…The eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him…The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him. Psalm 33:18, 34:7
  • I remember I can trust Him even when things don’t seem fair. “Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.” 1 Peter 4:19
  • I remember He has a plan that is for my good. “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 29:11 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
  • I remember I can count on God to lead me in the right direction.  “For You are my rock and my fortress; For Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me. You will pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me, for You are my strength. Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth…I trust in the LORD. I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness, Because You have seen my affliction; You have known the troubles of my soul, And You have not given me over into the hand of the enemy.” Psalm 31:3-8

Dear Father in Heaven,
Thank You for demonstrating over and over how much You love us.
When life surprises us with changes and difficulties for which we see no way out, help us see You and trust in Your mighty hand to guide us. Thank You for being our “refuge and strength a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) I rejoice in Your provision for me even when I can’t see it.
I pray the person reading this at this moment will also seek You and find You and rest securely in Your loving hand.

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