Birds are fascinating creatures. Sally and I enjoy watching the colorful finches frequent the feeders hanging in our back yard. Occasionally, a curious bird will find its way into a precarious situation, such as did one young bird who entered our garage this past week. The little fellow found his way into the garage, but could not find his way out, even though the door was wide open. Several other birds were hovering by and chirping outside the garage door to seemingly assist their trapped friend by calling him to the exit. After leaving the door open for several hours, hoping that he would figure out the obvious, I decided that it was time to take deliberate action. I took a broom to attempt to gently drive the bird toward the open door. Instead he fluttered violently, fleeing the broom from one hiding place to the other. My attempts to guide him to the door were futile. Instead of going out the door, he would sit on top of it. When I would lower the door, he would ride it down, and then fly right back into the back of the garage! When I would drive him from that place of refuge, he would go right back to the other. This went on for at least ten minutes. The bird was clearly confused, exhausted and scared. I did not want to harm him, but I was afraid that he would not survive the night in a closed, hot garage. The bird was breathing heavily, and I thought that he might collapse or fall from exhaustion from where he was perched. So, I said a little prayer about the situation and I gently placed the broom next to where the bird was perched. To my astonishment, he decided that his only option was to walk onto the bristles. He finally made a good choice! I was able to carry him out of the garage to the yard, where when he spotted the trees, he chirped loudly and flew to join his friends, free at last!
As I later thought about this, it reminded me of how we become imprisoned by our own negative thoughts and bad decisions. Often, we fail to see the obvious way out, refusing to accept help when offered. We might return over and over to false places of refuge, repeating the same mistakes, following the bad advice of others and listening to negative self-talk. We might even get ourselves in situations that seem impossible to escape, only to sink further into a hopeless abyss, or until we reach a point of complete emotional exhaustion. The entire time, the escape is obvious, but we don’t seem to notice. The Lord is there the whole time, trying to guide us to the exit, but we wait until we hit rock bottom before we trust him enough to carry us to safety. The little bird decided to trust me to rescue him from his dilemma, and it reminded me of what Jesus taught in the Gospel of Matthew, “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). It is comforting to know no matter how insignificant we may feel, no matter how big or even trivial our problems may seem, we have a loving Savior who cares. He gently reaches out to us to guide us out of the most dire of situations. We only have to trust Him.