“Mom, Mom! There’s a dead bird in the back yard!”
The kids crowded around the back door, with their noses pressed against the glass. I stood behind them and looked over their heads to see the broken body of a small brown bird lying on the brick patio.
“Looks like he must have flown into the window and died. Poor birdie. We’ll have Daddy take care of it later today,” I said.
I walked away from the door and began straightening the kitchen and putting things away. I gave no further thought to the poor, broken bird in the back yard. The kids rushed outside to play with the neighbors.
A couple hours later, seven-year-old T-Rex burst through the front door with a neighbor buddy and his little sister.
“Mom! Mom! We buried Ted!”
“Ted?” I stopped mid-plate scrubbing, hands covered in suds, and looked at the kids. My brain didn’t know how to process a group of four-to-eight-year-olds racing into the house shouting they’ve buried someone.
“Yeah!” they said, jumping up and down.
“Um….who’s Ted?” I asked.
“The dead bird!!”
“Dead bird?” I’d already forgotten about the broken bird in the back yard.
“We named him Ted!” the four-year-old neighbor girl said.
My poor brain was trying to keep up. Not only had they named the dead bird, they had buried him somewhere in my yard. Visions filled my head of a giant hole in the middle of the yard.
“Hang on,” I said, shaking my head to gather my thoughts. “Did you touch the bird? And where did you bury him?”
“We didn’t touch him; we used shovels.” T-Rex replied. “Come see!”
They led me into the backyard to a small pile of stones surrounded by plastic sand shovels. Written in permanent marker on one of the rocks was, “R.I.P. Ted. We miss you Ted” A few daisies were strategically placed on top of the pile of stones, completing the memorial to the dead bird.
I stood over the mini grave unable to find words. The care and attention these kids had given this bird was breath taking. Words caught in my throat before I whispered, “That’s beautiful. Great work, guys.”
They raced back to the flower patch to pick a few more daisies for the grave, and I snapped a picture to remember the moment.
I couldn’t help but think of the words of Jesus:
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31
The care these children had given to poor, dead Ted was a reflection of the care God has for his creation. As they recognized the value of this small bird, they reflected the image of God.
In their innocence, the kids reminded me that God cares for the small things we might brush aside, forget about, or think are unimportant.
They saw it. They named it. They cared for it.
Just as God sees, cares for, and knows its name.
Just as God sees, cares for, and knows your name.
Jesus reminded us that if God cares for the sparrows, how much more He must care for you. And in knowing that,
we need not be afraid.
What are you afraid of this week? What are you staring down that has you trembling and shaking?
Whether you’re staring down something small and troubling, or something massive and frightening, He sees. He cares.
If He has numbered the very hairs on your head, He certainly sees what you are facing that is causing you fear.
Invite Him into the situation. Ask for Him to reveal Himself to you. And look for His care in small, but significant ways.
If God has numbered your hairs, He certainly knows your struggles.
God cares for the sparrows, how much more valuable are you to Him!
What we learn about God from a dead bird.
photo credit: dudek25 on sxc.hu. text added by amelia.