If you know me, you know I’m slightly obsessed with birds. I’m not sure why so many feathered creatures capture my heart, but they do. I love watching them hop and scamper along our backyard, admire them in flight and am fascinated with bird facts and identification.
Earlier this year, swarms of tree swallows surrounded our neighborhood rooftops. They would glide through the sky, catching insects mid-air. They’d swoop so steadily, and so low, that I found myself stopping and staring – wondering if they might come right for us. One particular male tree swallow (who I named “Tippy”) regularly claimed a perfect perch on top of a window on our garage – and on most mornings, I stared at his shining, iridescent feathers while I got ready for the day. I looked forward to Tippy.
So, when my little boy yelled out in terror, “There’s a bird in the house!” I sprung into action – worrying for my feathered friends. Sure enough, a female tree swallow had made her way down our chimney (shame on me for not closing the chute!) and into our living room. She was (naturally) frantic and confused at this new walled world.
She buried her body into the carpet, leaning against the back of our couch. She breathed hard and looked extremely uncomfortable. We all smooshed our faces against the wall to see her – and then came up with a plan. We opened the front door, in preparation for her escape, and then slowly (oh, so slowly) I inched toward her in hopes that she’d instinctively fly to freedom … Unfortunately, she flew upstairs.
The kids screamed in terror, as if they were living in “The Birds” horror movie, and locked themselves in the office. The birdie smashed into a wall in actual horror, and landed motionless on the floor – still breathing. I placed a towel over her, and scooped her up. Poor thing huffed and puffed at first, but after a few minutes of feeling warmly wrapped and cradled, she calmed down … in fact, I think she actually liked it.
After a few minutes to recuperate, we released the towel and let her fly. She soared skyward, tweeting her farewells as she flew … she sounded how I felt: exhilarated.
I don’t “save” living things on a daily basis … so maybe that’s why I wasn’t prepared for the overjoyed heart that happened after rescuing my feathered friend. I felt sincerely thrilled for that bird; and pleased that I could do this small act of kindness for her … and of course, it made me think of my Rescuer … my Savior … my Friend.
Christ wants us to be happy – eternally happy. He wants us to have all that He has. He swoops us up, wraps us in His arms, and calms us in a way that no one can explain using logic. It is His work, to do this for us – but also His glory. It makes Him genuinely happy to free us … So, it only makes sense that Christ would want each of us to experience a taste of the joy that comes from saving others.
“The Lord has placed a pattern of rescue and rescuers in His kingdom” said Henry B. Eyring.
We all need to be rescued … and, oh what explicit gratitude, hope, elation and love comes when considering the saving grace Christ offers us.
Likewise, imagine what it might feel like to play even a small part in rescuing another valued soul. I believe it produces those same feelings.
And I wonder if every person, in some degree, experiences both roles: rescued and rescuer.
I don’t know the answer to that … but I can see the value in it.
I love how Christine Caine put it, “God uses rescued people to rescue people.” There are people who need rescuing all around us. They feel trapped and helpless. They wait for help in our work places, on the bus, in the store, sitting in our church congregations, linked to us on our family tree and even living within our own homes. They are each of great value to Him.
If we have found ourselves rescued by the hands and heart of Christ, we can offer our own to His work of rescuing others. In one hand, we can hold the downtrodden and depressed, the sickened and searching; while our other hand holds tightly to His. This forms a link of love, of hope and of strength. It also keeps us anchored to Christ, as we extend His love to others.
May we accept His rescuing and extend ourselves in rescuing His. May we freely offer His love and share the good news of His saving grace. May we take the warm, eternal peace that enwraps our soul and stretch it over those shivering in this cold world. May we lead and free others, by revealing Him and His ways. Then, on the morning we are called up, what a swarm of singing souls will fly to Him and His glory!