“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
I'm not sure what kind of bird it was--I'm not really up on my bird identification skills. It was smaller than my palm, with a narrow beak, a stripe of yellow below its eyes, and a swab of red above its breast. Smaller than a robin, larger than a sparrow; it hopped along the top of my curtain rod in my living room.
I wondered how in the world it got in. Then I wondered how it was going to get out. I turned off the ceiling fan and watched as it hopped from my curtain rods to my cabinet and then to the slowed blades of the fan.
I opened the top window in my front door and went back into the living room. I think it was attracted by that hint of fresh air. The bird flew past me, through the front hall, and into my study. By now it had the undivided attention of Moonbeam and Daisy. Moonbeam --I tossed into my bedroom and shut the door. Daisy, adorable Lab that she is, quickly lost interest.
I wanted to rescue this bird and set him free. I turned off the ceiling fan in my study and watched as the tiny bird explored the room. If I swooped on him, he would panic. If I tried to capture him, he might be injured. I tried warbling to him, but I'm not very good at bird-talk.
I retreated into the living room. The March breeze from the hallway window was strong enough to be felt in the study. It attracted the bird. He flew into the hall and perched on the wicker shelves filled with African violet pots. I closed the door to the study and stood in the doorway to the living room, effectively blocking those two exits. Slowly, calmly, the bird explored the pots on the wicker shelves. It was two feet away from the open window. If I startled it now, it might fly away from the opening, and I would have accomplished nothing.
The wind gusted into the house, promising a month that would go out like a lamb. The bird flew toward me, pin-wheeled, and soared out the window. I cheered, Daisy barked, and Moonbeam got let out of the bedroom: the bird was free.
Sometimes, the urge to help people find salvation is so great; I have to hold myself back. I want to shout, "This way!" I want to swoop down and drag them toward salvation. Sometimes, I hope they can be scared into finding salvation.
None of these strategies should ever be employed by prayer shawl ministries. The best way to help someone find salvation is to remove what might endanger them, make the way to salvation obvious, and remove any obstacles in the way. Gradually help the person recognize spiritual dead ends. And pray, “Lord, let your will be done in this person’s life.”
I believe I have the responsibility to open the window. The bird was the only one who could fly through. The wind blows. The bird recognizes its true environment. The bird finds his way home.
Lord, let your will be done. Amen.