by Brenda Weaver
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap nor store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26 NIV
It was only a small bird but I was pleased to give it a home. After I’d opened the thoughtful Christmas gift from my sons, I borrowed a bird cage from my mother and set about making a nice haven for my new little friend. In turn the colorful Zebra Finch sang merrily and delighted me with his antics. I gave him a home and a nest, and he made my nest seem less empty. The little bird was great company for me; he became my daily cheerer-upper.
Since her pet fish is named Gills, my daughter suggested I name the cute little fellow “Wings.” So Wings it was. He greeted me with sweet chirpings every morning. His songs welcomed me home from each day of work. And he sang to me at bedtime. When my daughters and family left for an extended stay with their sister in Canada Wings cheered me through lonely days.
One evening when the house grew now strangely quiet, I went to talk to Wings and found my new little friend dead on the floor of his cage. I walked away in shock and sorrow. “Why did you let my little bird die?” I cried out to God. “I am lonely. I was blessed by that little bird. I can’t understand why, when I’ve lost so much, I should have to lose my sweet Christmas gift too.” On and on I vented my frustration to God.
A friend called. Knowing the value of a pet for someone who is lonely, she sorrowed with me. She too wondered why my bird should die. I felt even sorrier for myself and talked to God some more. I reminded Him of His promises to care for the widow. “Ye shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child” was among the first of God’s laws for His people. (See Exodus 22:23, 24.) The dead bird somehow translated to me God was not keeping true to His own command.
But even as I fretted, I knew in my heart I must come to a place of surrender. Not only did I need to give up my bird, I needed to give up my unrealistic expectations of God. For God is a good God; not because He only gives us good things, not because He does not allow hurtful happenings to come our way. God is good because He is God. He is not a puppet whose strings we pull to bless and protect us. He is sovereign. His mighty hand directs our path, but He allows us to choose our steps. When things happen that disappoint and anger us God still has our best in mind. Not our best as we understand it, but our welfare as He understands it to be. “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” Job 23:10 NIV.
I had a choice. Would I accuse God of not caring, or would I trust His will for me, even down to my pet Zebra Finch? What lesson was there for me to learn?