What may be the most satisfying is seeing those we can recognize from times past. Remember the cardinal with the broken wing? (Check the July 2014 archives.) He kept coming back for well over a year. It has only been the past month or so that we haven’t seen him and it may well be he has lived out his lifespan, but he lived it far longer and better for coming here to fill his plate, heal, and grow strong again. His wing was never quite straight after his mishap, but it grew plenty strong enough to fly him where he needed to go. He wasn’t the first sad and sick bird we have had. If you have been with me awhile, you may remember the one-legged sparrow, and the brewer’s blackbird that was left behind when her flock flew northwest again—she was too sick to join them.
I wonder what God sees when He looks out on His “feeder.” We forget, I’m afraid, what our lives were like when we decided to take Him up on His offer. It is too easy, when life has taken a good turn and we are so much healthier in spirit, to think it might possibly have been our own doing. He is the one who comforted our mourning, who gave us a “garland” to replace our “ashes,” who took away our “spirits of heaviness” and gave us the “oil of joy” and a “garment of praise” (Isa 61:2,3) to replace the sackcloth life had thrown on us.
The Lord came looking for us at the worst time of our lives, and because of that we now live in the best times, no matter what our physical circumstances may be. We were all bruised reeds, but with tenderness and care He granted us the greatest of gifts, a spiritual healing that is eternal. It is right to praise Him, to stand in awe, and to marvel. But once in a while it wouldn’t hurt to remember the broken wings, the near fatal spiritual illnesses, the missing pieces of our hearts that He restored and what it cost. Maybe our healed wings stay a little bent just to remind us where we were and what might have been without His amazing love.
And always, we need to look for the others who need Him too. There is room on the feeder for as many weak, sick, and dying birds as we can bring with us. And then He can look with satisfaction one day on those who laid their burdens on Him, who allowed Him to care for them, who accepted His offer of love and grace. And together we can marvel for Eternity.
Behold, my servant, whom I uphold; my chosen, in whom my soul delights: I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. He will not cry, nor lift up his voice, nor cause it to be heard in the street. A bruised reed will he not break, and a dimly burning wick will he not quench: he will bring forth justice in truth. Isa 42:1-3