Panicked Responses

As I was sitting in my chair overlooking our patio one morning, I was watching the birds in our feeders outside. We have five feeders and enjoy watching the cardinals, finches, house wrens, redheaded woodpeckers, robins, sparrows, hummingbirds and even the occasional bluebird.

I had opened the sliding doors to feel the outside breeze. Suddenly something startled the birds and they all took off at the same time. One small sparrow made the mistake

of flying right through the door into my house. As soon as he came through the door, he turned left and hit the window next to the door. He backed off again and tried to go through it a second time.

Immediately I stood from my chair and moved toward him to help him. I raise my arms and tried to steer him back to the door, but he simply backed up and pounded himself into the window again, this time even harder.

I knew that the only way I could help this small bird was to cup him in my hands, go outside and release him. The hard thing for him was that he obviously didn’t realize my hands reaching for him were intended to help. I scared him and he hit the window again and again, escaping my grasp.

“Oh no!” I said aloud. “It’s okay. I’m just trying to help.” He kept right on frantically jumping around slamming his body into the window. Finally, I was able to cup my hands over him and gently pick him up. His small body trembled as I gently held him and walked outside.

When I reached the middle of the patio, I opened my hands and he flew as far up and away as he could go. I came back inside to clean up the feathers around the window.

Sometimes we are all like that little bird. Something in life causes us to instantly react to a situation and we take a wrong turn. It doesn’t take long to realize that we wish we had made another choice and now we desperately want out of the environment we’ve gotten ourselves into. The problem is that we don’t know the way out, so we start flailing around, trying to do any and everything we can to escape our scary situation we’ve entered. In the process, we sometimes hurt ourselves.

Jesus encouraged His disciples not to panic about temporal things in this life by pointing to nearby birds. “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” Jesus had a way of making it simple, didn’t He? If our God cares about the birds, how much more does He care about us?

When Moses was leading the children of Israel across the Red Sea, they seemed to have every reason to panic. There was no way across the vast water in front of them and Pharaoh’s army was closing in from the rear. The natural reaction of anybody in that situation would be to scurry around and try to do something, to do anything that might help.

After hearing from God on the matter, Moses spoke words to them that were completely counterintuitive to what a normal person would think and feel in their situation. He said “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today” (Exodus 14:13).

Standing still when our lives seem in peril doesn’t make sense from the human viewpoint, but that is exactly what is needed at times in our lives. Like the small bird that flew into my house, we don’t understand where we are or what is going on around us.

In this never-seen-before environment, everything scares us. What we don’t know is that our Loving God sees what we’ve gotten ourselves into and He is moved with compassion to help us. But the independent aspect of our makeup is not wired to relax and receive help. In a desperate attempt to deliver ourselves we sometimes make matters worse.

I felt sincere compassion for that little bird. I had no intentions of doing anything other than rescue and free him. That’s exactly the heart of our Father toward us. If we could only learn that and truly believe it, we would “bang our heads” a lot less often.

Are you in a menacing and fearful situation? Here’s what to do: Relax. Stop frantically trying to free yourself. You can hurt yourself and others doing that. “Be still and see the salvation of the Lord” is your best approach right now. The Hands that are reaching out to you aren’t going to hurt you. Your God is in control. He feels compassion for you. He will gently pick you up and set you free. Trust Him. Don’t be scared. Yield yourself and your situation to Him.

There is absolutely nothing in me that could imagine hurting that little bird. The Compassionate Gentleness of your God is infinitely greater than that I showed to a small sparrow this morning. Trust Him. Yield yourself into His hands. It’s going to be all right. He promises.

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