When Aaron returns from his day group at the end of his day, he almost always comes in the garage door. One day last week I happened to be in the living room and saw him running toward the front door as soon as he got out of the van. Oh, he’s probably just in a mood to ring the doorbell multiple times, I thought. So I opened the door before he had time to push the buzzer and when Aaron saw me he breathlessly said, “Mom, there’s a bird on the porch!” Stepping outside, I looked around and saw the poor bird behind the bench, huddled against the side of the house. All the commotion and noise scared him, so he lifted himself up and began to hop away. That’s when I saw that he had some sort of neck injury. It was pitiful to watch him because he couldn’t lift his head. His injury caused his head to hang and just dangle there as he hopped off the side of the porch. Aaron wanted to rescue him but I knew that we couldn’t save this bird’s life. I sadly watched him settle down behind our bushes and then went on in the house to explain to Aaron why we needed to leave the bird alone.
Later, after Gary and I had eaten supper, I quietly led Gary outside to the bushes and the bird. We didn’t want our Great Dane to find the bird, and didn’t want Aaron to see him again. There he was, huddled down in the same position as when I had left him earlier. We didn’t want to disturb him as we stood there looking at his beautiful coloring. Finally the bird heard us and once again tried to move away. It was really heartbreaking to see how his head hung down limply. We felt so helpless. Gary noted his coloring and that night was able to find out on the internet that our bird was a certain species of woodpecker. We didn’t want to think about the bird left out there all night and what might happen to him. Seeing nature up close at times like this is pretty distressing.
As soon as it was light enough the next morning I slipped outside and stood on the porch. Sure enough, our woodpecker was still there but he was dead. We weren’t surprised, really, and it was actually a relief to know that he hadn’t been grabbed and tortured by a predator. Yet we wished that somehow we could have helped him.
As I thought about this experience with the dying bird I was reminded of Matthew 10:29 where Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.” The Moore family weren’t the only ones who knew about the unfortunate death of this anonymous bird. Our Heavenly Father also knew and even beyond the knowing, He cared. To think that our Father in Heaven, God of the universe, would care about our dead woodpecker was a beautiful picture to me of an even greater truth. God carries that care over to me, in an even greater measure than the bird. Continuing on in Matthew 10:30-31, Jesus said, “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” My God cares for me, even numbering the hairs on my head! He cares about my hurts; He cares about my disappointments; He cares about my pain; He cares about my worries; He cares about my children; He cares about my loneliness. And in I Peter 5:7, Peter reminded the believers to “cast all your care on Him, because He cares for you.” God WANTS me to throw my cares on Him – to let Him handle my anxieties – because He CARES! No matter how insignificant I feel or how scared I feel or how pushed aside I feel or anything else – I am told to throw that care to Jesus and He will care for it because He cares for me. What a promise! What a God! And what a lesson I was reminded of from our little dying bird.