What a Sparrow Taught Me

Hello, Thursday Morning readers. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll join me in a cup of coffee (or whatever you prefer). I am feeling thankful today.

A couple of weeks ago, several members of my family came down with “the virus.” I have to tell you, I was afraid. Mostly because of all I’d heard.

I prayed for them, but it was difficult not to worry, especially when I couldn’t be there. I’m really good at wringing my hands and pacing the floor. Does God hear?

I’m often like the father of a child who answered Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief,” (Mark 9:24). I used to think that was funny. Now I know it’s honest. I do believe, but sometimes I doubt. Help me, Jesus, when I doubt.

I trust Him, but I’ve been through losses, too. Fear is our greatest enemy and the media is feeding the fear.

I was in the midst of this when on a Tuesday morning before I went to work, I heard a bird hit the French doors. It happens all the time. I hated to look out there, afraid I’d see it dead.

It was a sparrow. There it was, sitting on the patio, its little head lolled to the side. Poor little thing had most likely broken its neck. I knew it would probably die.

And then, I remembered…

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. – Luke 12:6 ESV

God knows when every sparrow falls, so I reached my hand out and prayed, “Father, I know you saw that. Please heal this little bird, or set it free so it will not suffer.”

I checked on it several times and it was still sitting there. I had my back to the door when I heard a tiny noise and turned around to look. That bird was sitting on the wood base of the door, pecking at the glass!

I went over and knelt down on the floor, shaking my head. “Hi precious,” I spoke from my side of the window. It perched there, looking at me for a few more seconds and then flew away.

Tears stung my eyes. I really believe God healed the sparrow, and that little bird wanted to let me know it was all right.

True story.

This was an important and relevant message for me at a time when fear gripped my heart. I wondered if God heard my prayers.

He does hear when we pray and He let me know that day, through a tiny sparrow.

Click to Tweet: I’m often like the father of a child who answered Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief,” (Mark 9:24). I used to think that was funny. Now I know it’s honest. I do believe, but sometimes I doubt. Help me, Jesus, when I doubt.

“His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me…”

Couragious Forgiveness

background-1135051_1280Sometimes, it takes raw courage to forgive.

This is an ongoing theme in my life. Forgiving, even when it hurts (me). Looking back, I see a line of courageous forgivers. The Amish families who lost their children. Corrie Ten Boom. And further back in history, Stephen (early church deacon who was stoned to death for his faith).

The troubles of my past pale in comparison. But they still hurt. The human reaction for most of us is to hold on to them. To hate the one who hurt us. To punish the perpetrator through our ongoing hate.

Deep inside, I know that kind  of possessive unforgiveness hurts me more than anyone else. Those who committed the worst things that ever happened to me are dead now. They’ve met their fate, and they met it without my spoken forgiveness. I came to this knowledge too late. But I have now forgiven them. Their slate is clean with me.

flower-946502_1280Why does it matter? I no longer suffer under the weight of holding on to someone’s guilt. I’ve been spiritually healed of the pain inflicted on me, because of this passage of scripture… “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (John 8: 14-15 NIV)

Pay close attention to verse fifteen. It holds a devastating truth. Don’t overlook it.

Forgiving others sets you free. When I let go of the pain of my past, something died inside of me. But it was a good death. No longer would I be in its death grip. I am free of the pain. And those who caused that pain are in God’s hands. I am completely free.

Here’s another life-giving realization that came to me when I pondered my freedom: Unforgiveness is one of the strongest tools of the enemy. Satan uses unforgiveness–in your life–to steal your joy, your health, happiness, peace. He uses it to kill, and to destroy. With it, he destroys families…lives. Yours. Not the one who sinned against you.

death-1013386_1920I held my hurt and pain in a tight fist for so long, I couldn’t enjoy life. If anything in my life reminded me of what happened, I curled up in a fetal position (inside, if not physically) and felt dead. Others were hurt and confused by my attitude. Until the day I discovered these scriptures and decided it was time to let it go.

It wasn’t easy. Even after the initial spoken forgiveness, I was reminded throughout the day, every day, of what had been done to me. I’m not exaggerating. So I faced it with courage. I took every thought captive. When the thoughts came, they brought pain with them. I forgave all over again. I took a step further and replaced feelings of hurt and pain and hate with love. But not in my name. “Father, forgive me. Replace the hateful memories. Heal my heart and help me love.”

1-Passion FlowerYears have passed since that time. The hurtful thoughts came less and less. My heart gradually healed. Some babies are born with a hole in their heart. Most are healed naturally, as they grow. The hole closes. Their hearts are healthy. That’s what happened to me, but spiritually. The hole in my heart closed up. It’s sealed and strong. It took courage. I would like to take all the glory for that, but I can’t.

It was God’s love. I am so loved by God. “For God so loved the world, He gave his only Son…” As a believer, my faith has made me whole.

I share this so perhaps you can be whole also. If you suffer under the weight of unforgiveness, consider what I said in the paragraph above. How much joy have you allowed to pass by, so you could hold on to this pain? How much peace?

Take a chance. Be courageous. Forgive, that you might be forgiven.