What I learned from robins.
My daughter called me.
She had gone to the front porch to read a book, when suddenly a baby robin fell from its nest to the ground right in front of her!
Mom and dad robin began making a ruckus.
She sent me a video of their urgent, frantic pleas. It was hard to listen to their unadulterated panic.
Baby bird started making its way across the yard.
Dad bird flew down beside his lost child. Found! But once dad found baby bird, he flew away again toward mom bird, as if to give her the message. In that short time, baby bird went through a row of hedges and disappeared into the yard next door.
Mom and dad bird could not find the baby bird again,
and neither could my daughter. The tiny creature seemed to have been swallowed up in all the lawn and was nowhere to be found again.
Both my daughter and I went to bed that night thinking baby bird was lost forever. I imagined mom and dad in their empty nest still grieving and distressed.
The next day I received another call.
My daughter had returned to the front porch 24 hours later to try reading there again. Mom and dad robin were still chirping as hysterically for their baby as they were the prior day!
They hadn’t stopped calling frantically.
Daughter and I talked by phone above the din in the background. There is no way baby bird was coming back, we were saying. There is no way that tiny creature was going to make it back by following the sounds of the parents’ cries.
When suddenly…a baby bird chirped.
Yes, baby bird found its way back to the correct yard and was reunited to the mom and dad robins who had never given up calling their child home.
We had given up, but not the robins.
We humans give up on some many things, don’t we? The robins didn’t know the facts, that only 25% of robins live through their first year. My daughter and I didn’t know the facts, that robins identify their babies the way we humans recognize ours – by sight and sound, not by smell. The robins didn’t know to do anything but scream through the night for their baby, while we humans, who “know” so much, give up.
- We give up on prayer, but God tells us to always pray.
Pray in the Spirit at all times, with every kind of prayer and petition. To this end, stay alert with all perseverance in your prayers for all the saints.
- We give up on our wayward children because it’s been five years now, and we haven’t see any change.
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?” (Luke 15:4)
- We give up on marriage because it’s been 20 years now and it’s never been what we imagined.
“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
- We give up and sit on the couch all day because our child irritated us this morning at breakfast. Mentally, we decided the day was over.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)
- We give up on our neighbors because it’s been two years and they don’t wave back.
Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another….Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies…(1 Peter 4:9-11)
- We give up on our health because the chocolate cakes looks better than the broccoli. Again. And we don’t feel like exercising. Again.
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19,20)
We give up so easily don’t we?
This body in which we are housed because of original sin has knee-jerk fleshly responses that seemingly fly out of us with a level of emotion and immediacy that continues to stun me, even this far along in my walk with Christ.
This morning I prayed
…that God would continue to root the reactive fleshly responses out of me and replace them with Spirit responses that illustrate God’s Word to the part of the world that watches me.
We can pray that prayer
…because the Bible tells us love endures: It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails… (1 Corinthians 13:7-8a)
No room for lazy love.
Let’s let the relentless efforts of the mom and dad robins challenge us this week.
Big week in our house.
– Our youngest child started back to school.
– My husband started new work hours.
– I earned tenure.
– We celebrated 27 years of marriage.
Like my robin friends, I too am learning what can happen when I never give up.
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