Yes, “His Eye is on the Sparrow” But…

Coming out of our basement laundry room last week, a baby sparrow sped by me, running in fear with his wing dragging on the pavement. “Poor thing!”, I thought, but as I climbed the stairs my heart recited that song, “His Eye is on the Sparrow” and, I wondered, as “He watches over me”, what does the Lord want me to do about this sparrow apparently in His view?

I plopped down my laundry and realized, I could not leave that injured bird there, unable to fly, amid possible rat attacks and other terrors. I contacted the Wild Bird Fund downtown, known for their devoted care for injured birds of all kinds. “Try and catch him and bring him to us!” Ok, I thought, how hard can that be?

I returned to the trash area where my super was putzing around. “Hey,” I said with gloved hands, “I’m just looking for a little injured bird…” He immediately engaged in this search and within seconds we were chasing the poor thing in and out of every corner and cranny. “Got him!” I announced with delight. I had never held a bird and he was precious!

Time for me to scurry down to the Wild Bird Fund!

I contacted them in a day, two days…surely the baby bird would soon fly to Central Park! Finally, this week, I received the report…

I am very sorry to tell you that the house sparrow you brought to us was too injured to recover. The main problem was to do with his wing, as you suspected; his left radius and ulna were nearly severed, his humerus was very swollen, and his right elbow was fractured. While we can treat some wing injuries, these ones were not survivable. Fractures in birds that are close to the joint, such as the elbow, do not heal well. As the bone calluses, it fuses the bone and the joint together, leading to permanent paralysis, so that the bird is unable to move his wing. This means he could never fly again, and in turn could never return to the wild. Because his prognosis was extremely poor, we made the decision to humanely euthanize him and prevent further suffering.
I know this is not the outcome you were hoping for, but please know that by bringing him to us, you saved him from a great deal of future distress and discomfort. In cases like this, the kindest and most humane thing we can do is allow the bird to pass in peace and without pain.” 

What? That tiny bird had all that?

You’re right, Care Team, that was not the outcome I was hoping for! Lord, Your eye was upon him, You put this baby in my hand and…why?

I thought of the greater ‘whys’ charged up to heaven, filled with grief from untimely death and loss. Brethren who seem to be at the peak of their ministry, raising their family, a joy to parents…dreams crushed. My brother’s death was such a loss, leading me to question and challenge God. One of our beloved pastors often tells of the grievous late night knock, “We’re sorry to inform you…there was an accident…” Burying their only daughter, he cried out, “Why!”

God is not fragile. He can take our anguish and anger – the honest cry from His children and, moreover, He will answer that cry.

I couldn’t possibly see the sparrow’s pervasive injuries uncovered by diligent diagnostic care and medical equipment. Neither can I see into the spiritual realm of God’s view and providence. He is undoubtedly sovereign and certainly owns us, we belong to Him. Then why untimely death of His beloveds? Why, when the ‘outcome is not what we hoped for’ but what we actually dreaded most?

At 38 yrs old, a husband and a father to two toddlers, my brother Paul was at the peak of his faith. He bravely suffered through harrowing medical treatments and admitted towards the end, “I have no regrets. Having cancer brought me closer to the Lord in so many ways – I would not have known Him so deeply without it.” Paul’s faith was a testimony to doctors and patients in oncology – and to us as well.

“I know full well that my life is in the hands of the Lord. He has the keys to the car, and I am going along for His ride…” Paul Stepanian

Pastor Ben Crandall shared similarly from the pulpit, “At 25, my daughter was full of faith, had her whole life ahead of her. I cried out over her grave, why, why did You take her from us!” The pastor shared what he later received from the Lord, ‘I saw her spiritual future and took her before she fell’.

Long ago I jotted this quote in my Bible,

“The believer’s life on earth is his only arena for change and fruitfulness…the nature of eternity is changeless. Therefore, the time to become like Jesus, being conformed to His likeness, is during this earthly Christian experience of trial and faith.” “You and I will never be any closer to Christ, throughout eternity, than we are when He comes. That’s the point of Judgment.” (Dr. Lovett)

The nature of eternity is changeless…” We see untimely death as missing 30, 40 or 50 years of life – God sees our lives entering into eternity in the likeness His Son – enjoying His close presence forever.

God does not spell out everything like the Wild Bird Fund. But our faith need be strong enough to stand upon His word and His sovereignty and trust Him when ‘the outcome is not what we hoped for’. Those devoted to my little sparrow assured –

I know this is not the outcome you were hoping for, but please know that by bringing him to us, you saved him from a great deal of future distress and discomfort

Doctors determine outcomes through X-rays, CAT scans and tests. God sees through everything, and into eternity.

His eye was on the sparrow. But more than ‘His eye’ is upon us – His life is within us and He orders our steps as a sovereign Father in heaven. Whether our ‘wing is broken’ or our heart is broken or ‘the outcome is not what we hoped for’, we can trust the Lord to walk us through, and with a view of eternity.

Introducing….Starry!

As in Starry Night of course.

It was a blustery cold January, just two months ago, when Bob mentioned a kitten around his work facility in the Bronx. The babe’s mother was nearby, frozen to death. This little one kept pawing at Bob’s ankles, even climbed up his pant leg -easily winning him over. Bob and his co-worker decided, “This will be our office mascot, we’ll take him in and care for him!” After two days, that commitment was inadequate. The hurdle at home was, admittedly, me.

For two years since Maggie died, ( Maggie and the Gospel Truth) her 1/2 feral Becky notably grieved and then became increasingly malcontent. Our vet did not recommend getting another cat as Becky (now over 17 years old), never liked anyone except Maggie and was very antisocial. Every night for the past two years, Becky would wake up between 2 and 3am yelling and crying for me to sleep with her. She never liked Bob!

After two years of poor sleep, I insisted about 100 times, “We’re never getting another cat. Becky is the last one, don’t even think of it!”

One hundred proclamations dissolved within 5 minutes of meeting Starry.

He was first named ‘Star’ after the facility name, ‘Starhill’. “But”, I said, “animal studies find that they like and answer to names that end in vowel sounds like eeee….that’s it, STARRY. Like Starry Night!”

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Dreamy Starry Night!

Starry stirred up love everywhere, a real cuddle master! Everyone wanted him, “Can we share custody?” “NO!”

The odd bend in his tail, flopping down like a broken branch, only endeared us more until one day…..it fell off!! And he was playing with it like a toy!

Away from home, we brought him to Urgent Vet Clinic where it was found his tail had suffered damage most likely from frostbite. This led to his first operation….a partial tail-ectomy! What a trooper!

That did not stop him at all…

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Simon Pierce bowl, very comfortable!

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“Here I am, someone call me?”

After five weeks at my parents house, time to head to the city…and prepare for operation #2!  Starry is no less of a boy for it but you know…

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“Grrr…the lion sleeps tonight!”

How did things go with baby Starry and crabby Becky?  Starry loved Becky right away, was anxious to play!  Becky surprised us all…after a time of growling, paw swiping, and hissing there was blissful tolerance!  Who knows, it may even lead to friendship!

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Ahh, blissful tolerance!

The Lord melted all my proclamations in 5 minutes and perked up our hearts in many ways.  

“I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are Mine.” 

Yes Lord, and You surely know those out in the Bronx streets and they are Yours.   Thank You for calling Starry Night and giving him to us!