As I was preparing dinner, Zachary burst through the door from baseball practice. My hand flew up to stop him in his tracks in hopes of preventing mud tracks from the baseball field from being spread across the kitchen floor. He panted, “Mom, come here, there is a baby bird outside.” Everyone dropped what they were doing to rush outside and marvel at this little helpless creature on our driveway.
My Jacob could hardly bear the thought of leaving this bird alone to face the world. “We can’t leave him. Where are his parents? He can’t die.”
“He isn’t going to die. His parents will come for him. They are close by watching and protecting him.”
“How do you know? What if they don’t get him?”
Somehow, we were able to convince him to come inside to have dinner while we gave the bird some space. Though we convinced Jacob to come inside, he didn’t make it far. Head against the wall, shoulders shaking, he sobbed. Attempting to provide comfort, we reminded him that we had to let nature run its course.
“But mom, what if his parents don’t come back for him. You would never leave me. We can’t leave him.”
Jacob has always been compassionate. He hurts deeply when he sees others hurting. He imagines the pain, he feels it with them. And it hurts.
Peace alluded Jacob during dinner. Honestly, it did me as well. Jacob was hurting for this baby bird. I was hurting for Jacob.
A few times through the evening we checked on the bird. He was still there. Still chirping. Still waiting. Still needing.
I imagine he felt alone. Forgotten. We’ve all been there at times. Wondering if we have been forgotten, are we alone? We are never forgotten. We are never alone.
Jacob couldn’t stand it. Neither could I. My heart ached watching my son hurt. He was imagining himself in the place of that bird. So I couldn’t leave that bird there. Because I wouldn’t leave my child. Protecting that bird was protecting Jacob.
After tucking the boys into bed, I went back to the computer to read how to save a bird. Then I made my way outside to find the nest. Once I found it, I asked my mom who was here visiting to go get Jacob out of bed so he could watch us get the bird back to safety.
In the process of helping the bird, I knew we could be hurting him more. Relief was around the corner. Sometimes the pain becomes more intense before we are able to experience the relief. It would all be better soon. But the bird didn’t know. He chirped louder, his pain seemed to increase. Jacob was scared. I was scared.
“Just get him up there,” Steve urged. Jacob nervously added, “His chirp sounds different.” Was I doing the right thing?
Gently, I placed the bird in the nest breathing a deep sigh of relief. The bird was home where he belonged. My son could go to bed in peace knowing the bird was safe.
As I walked Jacob back to bed, I said, “Do you feel better now?” His response surprised me, “Only a little. I will feel better when I know he isn’t alone in the nest. When I know his parents are back with him.”
Of course, he would feel that way. The bird was safe, but the bird was still alone, which means the bird was still scared.
Unbeknownst to Jacob, I was working in the background. I was reading online how to care for this bird. I was climbing on ladders to find where the nest could be. I was gathering supplies to move the bird from the driveway to the nest. And I was praying. Jacob couldn’t see, but I was working. Jacob couldn’t see how much I cared, but I did care.
In our pains of life, God is working. We just may not see it yet. He is aching with us. He wants to protect us, love us, and make it all better. And He is. We just may not see it yet.
When I tucked Jacob in bed for the 2nd time that night, I reminded him to pray for the bird, to which he replied that he had already been praying. Of course he was. I walked out of his room silently begging God to save that baby bird. I wanted Jacob to experience yet again the realness of this God we proclaim. I wanted Jacob to see beyond a saved bird. I wanted him to see a Savior.
When morning arrived the first words out of Jacob’s mouth were inquiring of the bird. I knew the answer already. It was the first thing I did. The mama bird was back with her baby, right where she belonged. Just like the baby bird, when we are in the arms of our Father, we are right where we belong. Right where He wants us to be.