I was awakened to the sound of frantic scratching; an alarming sound to a small boy in the middle of his attempted good night’s sleep. I immediately thought that a small jaguar must be on the other side of my bedroom wall. He had obviously selected me as his midnight snack. My dad assured me that the animals of the jungle were not out to get me, and that it was simply a bird that accidentally managed to work its way inside the wall of my bedroom.
It had entered through a tiny hole under our deck. I’m sure the bird was equally, if not more terrified than I was, as it repeatedly struggled to find its way back to freedom.
Sometimes we also find ourselves in a situation we didn’t expect to be in. And it can often feel terrifying, confusing, and hopeless. Sometimes we’re stuck because we’ve willingly walked into a trap. Pastor Dave preached a great message on how to identify and avoid traps, you should watch it here.
The bird willingly entered the unknown hole that led to his unwanted imprisonment. He probably thought, “It’s no big deal, I’ve seen birdhouses before, getting in is easy, so obviously getting out must be as well.” But Proverbs 22:3 writes, “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”
Like the bird, we can choose to blindly enter into situations with ignorant optimism. Optimism is an amazing quality to have, but not at the expense of taking the time to apply wisdom and careful thought. That’s the amazing benefit of being a part of God’s family. It’s also another reason why our life groups are such an integral part of our church. We have the privilege of being around people of various levels of experience and spiritual maturity, who can speak into our lives and help us avoid unnecessary difficulties.
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”
– Proverbs 15:22
We tried banging strategically on the wall to coax that bird towards an exit, but it was only when we cut into the drywall that the bird flew out… into the inside of our house. We had freed him from one small space into a slightly larger space. Our problem was far from solved. The poor bird was still terrified and confused, swooping by our heads. Armed with brooms we managed to ‘lovingly’ guide him towards the door, and ultimately to actual freedom.
If that bird had just surrendered and let us help him in the first place, we could have all gone back to bed a lot sooner. But the bird’s fear kept him trapped for longer than he needed to be.
It’s easy to feel condemnation and shame when you are trapped, but don’t let fear hold you back from surrendering to a loving God who has designed you to live in freedom.
I love what Romans 8:1-2 says, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”
The way to freedom can feel terrifying. I’m sure the bird was absolutely traumatized as we broke through the drywall and eventually guided it back to the great outdoors. But remember this, just because you can’t understand what is going on doesn’t mean God isn’t at work for your good. We genuinely wanted the bird to be free, just like God wants us to be free, living the life he has designed and intended for us to live.
Free… as a bird.