“I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
I come back from my morning jog. Back to the farm. Onto the front porch. About to enter the door.
I look down before I step, thankfully.
There sits a stunned rose-breasted grosbeak, a young one I think, its color not quite as vivid as older brother or father. He sits there still, not scared. At least, not that I could tell. I kneel down, checking his condition, first without touching.
Wings intact. Feet fine. Eyes open, looking straight at me. Breathing normally. But not moving.
Has his brain been rattled against bone, trying to fly through glass—the clear, solid pane standing between out and in? Is that why he sits here, stunned? I know the feeling. How often have I flown head-first into a barrier seeming so inviting only to find myself hurt. If only I had trusted God and taken him at his word. If only I hadn’t tried to go where I was not meant to go or do what I was not meant to do, relying on my own way to meet my needs, instead of on God’s way.
So I could be angry at the bird for flying into glass. After all, hadn’t he seen all his other feathered friends doing the same thing, experiencing the same result? Will they ever learn and spare themselves their pain?
Instead, I look on him with compassion and stoop low, to his level. I tell him, “Don’t be afraid. I want to help you, not harm you.”
I scoop him up and hold him in my hands. His wings don’t flutter. His heart doesn’t race.
Does he trust me? Does he hold faith that my desire is to help and not harm? Will he trust that I have a purpose, a plan for him and that both—are—good? That both purpose and plan are bound by pure love? That I want to prosper him with freedom to fly high, away from glassy barriers where others have died?
I place him gently out of harm’s way.
I stay and keep watch over him, not allowing his enemies to subdue him, to snuff out his life. He keeps his eyes on me. When ready, he flaps his wings and flies—up, up, up to the highest branch of the honey locust. There, he perches.
Birds were made to fly free, high and wide. I am pleased.
I love the LORD, for he heard my voice;
He heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.
The cords of death entangled me,
The anguish of the grave came upon me;
I was overcome by trouble and sorrow,
Then I called on the name of the LORD;
“O LORD, save me!”
The LORD is gracious and righteous;
Our God is full of compassion.
The LORD protects the simplehearted;
When I was in great need, he saved me.
Be at rest once more, O my soul,
For the LORD has been good to you.