He came to us at some point over the fall. The one eyed brown finch we came to know as Bob.
The row of large shrubs directly adjacent to our chicken pen has been home to a family of finches for some time. Moses, our bird dog, spends much of his outdoor time stalking them and hoping to scare them to another home. However, they incessantly have made it clear that they do not intend to leave. In fact, they have become so much at home that they make frequent visits to the pen to mingle with our hens. The hens are quite tolerant of them and don’t seem to mind the company.
It was this past fall that we realized that, not only were these birds mooching off the food and water in the chicken pen, but they were also incredibly comfortable being around us humans. When we go into the chicken pen it is not uncommon to almost step on one of the little guys. They rarely fly out of the way but merely step aside when we walk by. They spend the middays lounging inside the coop itself. They can be seen perching on the roost or sitting in the nesting box as though they were meant to do so.
I am almost certain their intent has been more than to integrate themselves into the culture of chickens. I believe they are convinced that they are, indeed, chickens.
Not too long ago we noticed Bob. While walking past the row of bushes we noticed one of the finches quietly perched on a small branch. Like always, he did not fly away. But we also noticed that one of his eyes was missing. He took on the name One Eyed Bird. Very original, I know. He did not, however, become known as Bob until days later.
Let me explain.
Moses often gets himself into situations that he regrets. This past spring he located a nest of newborn baby rabbits by our house. We are not sure how it came about, but long story short, Moses was found “babysitting” a tiny furless bunny. Had he excitedly and regrettably pawed the rabbit from it’s nest? Somewhat likely. But the fact that the bunny was now laying directly on top of one of Moses’ paws was a clear indication that something suspicious had occurred. When confronting Moses, he innocently and gently nudged the baby rabbit then looked back at me as if to say “look Mom. I’m taking care of him for you.”
Such a similar situation occurred with Bob a few days after we met him. A weak and nearly lifeless Bob lay directly in front of an all too quiet bird dog. Moses insisted he was not the culprit even though all evidence pointed to him. Needless to say, Bob became our daughter’s indoor patient for the next few days.
Reece nursed him back to health with lots of love, VetRX, probiotics (for poultry), and nourishing water with added electrolytes. (There is no halfway of doing things in this home).
Sunday morning came and it was unanimously decided that Bob was ready to be set free again. The plan was to do so when we returned home from church that afternoon. Unfortunately, plans changed. When we returned home we found that Bob had apparently drown in the tiny children’s medicine cup filled with the nourishing water meant to cure him. Face down and feet up, he was probably unable to pull himself from the cup while trying to get a drink. Talk about an ironic and sad turn of events.
Oftentimes, despite our best efforts, life happens. What is that certain something in which you have invested so much energy? Who is that certain someone in whom you have invested so much heart and time? The result?
An uncertain and unexpected outcome. Disappointment. Heartache. Betrayal perhaps?
“And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.” And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” And he kissed him.” Mark 14:43-45
No one has experienced the feeling of betrayal more than Jesus. Investing three years into the lives of 12 people. Day in and day out, Jesus not only delved into their lives, but he also allowed them to delve into his life. They saw him happy, they saw him sad. They saw him laugh at their jokes and they laughed at his jokes. They saw him tired, hungry, and disappointed. They saw him in his righteous anger. They probably asked him questions about his childhood. Maybe he shared with them that he actually felt nervous the first time he taught in the temple as a mere child.
The fully God and fully human Savior of mankind had, no doubt, learned what it was like to show vulnerability to others. To trust others with a fully human trust. (It will always remain a mystery to me how God the Creator was also so incredibly human those 33 years).
Because Jesus was, well, God, he also knew which of his disciples would ultimately betray him. Yet he chose to continually invest his time into the one who would ultimately betray him. Why? I will leave that for another post.
But don’t let this minimize your perception of how much it must have hurt Jesus to realize this fact. Don’t let his “all knowingness” tempt you into thinking that the hurt was not as real. The fact that Jesus felt deep hurt just as we do is evident in several occasions recorded in scripture. He weeped over the death of his friend, Lazarus. He turned over tables when he saw the unholy treatment of God’s holy place. He cried out in anguish as the pieces of bone and metal from the Roman soldier’s whip tore into his back.
Yes, I think it is safe to say that Jesus knew suffering. He knew disappointment. And he knows what it is you are enduring at this moment. There was a stripe on his body representing that sickness. There was a tear in the Garden of Gethsemane for that heartbreak. There were a few nails on that cross for that sin.
He knew what coming to earth would mean for him. He did it anyway.
Do I wish we could have proudly released Bob the bird from his cage that day? Of course. Would I have allowed Reece to turn our craft room into a veterinarian clinic had I known Bob’s ultimate fate? I had no choice. Bob reminded me that we often step out in blind faith…and that is ok.