July 14, 2014

Journeys With Jesus

I never heard the thump against the glass. Greg and I were home, savoring our Sabbath dinner. We had a brief moment for lunch, sandwiched between church and an afternoon meeting. We sat at the table, eating our pasta on a snowy white tablecloth, sunshine streaming in through the windows. It was a perfect Sabbath. Peaceful.

Suddenly Greg got up and glanced out the glass door that leads to our back deck. “Jilly, come quick!”

There sat a bird, wings outstretched, beak open. Stunned. It must’ve hit the glass. I watched as blood began to seep from under its feathers, making a bright red spot on its little chest. Greg stepped outside, and it folded its wings together and looked up at him.

It was probably going to die. I shook my head against that thought. I felt so helpless. I couldn’t fix it. Couldn’t rewind the time to ward off the hit. Couldn’t stop the bleeding. But even as I watched, breathless, it looked as though the bleeding had stopped. At least the red wasn’t spreading anymore.A SURVIVOR

The little striped bird opened its beak and closed it, then blinked dazed eyes at Greg as he squatted beside her. What kind of bird is it? Perhaps a female red-winged blackbird? I wasn’t sure.It had a prominent white stripe above its eye, mottled brown striped feathers, and a surprisingly large beak. I snapped its picture on my cell phone.

We prayed for the little bird, while that Bible verse about the value God places on the sparrow ran through my mind. Even though this wasn’t a sparrow, God still placed incredible value on it. He could heal it! But was healing part of His plan for this bird’s life?

I know God always wants to heal. Sometimes He heals instantly. Sometimes over time. Sometimes not until the Second Coming. But, yes, always He heals.

The little bird looked around. Then suddenly, in a flutter of wings, it lifted off and was gone. I looked at Greg in disbelief. It could fly! Maybe it was going to make it!

* * *

My friend is dying. It’s one of those slow deaths. Sometimes painful. You see, she has cancer.

She was diagnosed almost two years ago. There’s nothing I can do to fix it. Nothing to make her feel better. Nothing to make her well. So I sit next to her and let her talk, I send her text messages, and I pray. I pray for healing. After all, it’s not too late for that. I pray for God’s will and for His grace to be made sufficient in her time of weakness. I pray for peace and comfort, but most of all I pray that in the midst of this sin-sick world, the name of God will be lifted up and glorified through my friend’s life.

Recently my friend and her husband went to the Amish farm down the road to pick up hay for their horses. As they shared about her cancer, the Amish man turned, walked to the cash register, pulled out a pile of $20 bills, and handed the fistful of money to my friend’s husband.

What kind of example is that? He might be of another faith, but that Amish man surely knows Jesus. He knows how to live like He did. How to love and serve. He saw a need, and he reached out to meet it.

As I pondered that man’s example of giving, I wondered about my own life. Have I met any of the needs around me? Have I even seen the needs? Has my obedience to the Lord Jesus cost me anything?

“Lord Jesus,” I prayed, “please teach me to hear the ‘thumps’ against the glass.”