|Sunny: cheeky little bird|
Sunny is quite spunky. We found him one day inside the fence of the pool, crawling along on the stones and trying to eat grass seeds (by the way, stones are worthless for keeping weeds down). After a futile search for his owner, my parents let us keep him. He eventually became my bird and my responsibility (eventually my other bird came into the picture, but that wasn't until later).
That was about sixteen years ago. He's still hopping along, being a regular nuisance. And since cockatiels can live to be thirty, he promises to be a pain-in-the-tail-feathers for quite a bit more (think carefully before you get a bird from the parrot family).
The average age is fifteen years, so technically he's already pushing it. But for being an old dude, he's still rather sprightly. I take both birds out to feed them dinner at night, and when I put them away, he's always ready to fly right back to his cage for the millet sprig I've put in it.
There's only one problem. Take another look at the picture above. Notice anything missing?
Sunny is an amputee.*
As you can imagine, flying doesn't end so well for him.
But almost every night without fail, he tries to fly again and again. And the times I can't catch him or get him to his cage in time, he ends up in a close encounter with my hard wood floor (fortunately, these times are VERY rare). You'd think he'd learn, but he doesn't. He thinks he can get back to his cage all by himself, without relying on me to put him back.**
But then again, we constantly try to go through life without relying on God. We try to stop sinning on our own, quit addictions on our own, build churches and organizations on our own. Sure, we'll say we rely on God, but if we did, would we have so many fundraisers? Think about it. George Muller wasn't exactly running around England holding bazaars or bake sales every weekend.***
Think about Sarah. God had promised her and Abraham that they'd have a son. But Sarah knew she was old. And she was kind of tired of waiting. After all, she was already seventy-something. God couldn't have meant she'd have a child. But she did have a young maid, Hagar. Maybe that was it. God was going to use Hagar as her surrogate.
So Sarah, confident she knew what God was up to, decided to "help" Him with the process. She told Abraham to go sleep with her maid. After all, Hagar could easily have a son for her.
Just keep reading Genesis 16. And then Genesis 21:1-21. You'll see how well that worked out for them.
Sarah's scheme for an son ended up causing a fracture in her family. The question of who was Abraham's heir is something that the descendants of Ismael and Isaac have fought over for centuries.
All this confusion, all this pain, at least partly because someone thought she could do it without God.
The problem is, we're powerless to do anything right without God. Sure, it may seem like it's working for a little bit, just like Sunny can stay aloft for a moment with his one wing. But sooner or later, we're going to hit that hard, cold floor.
Or at least, we would if God didn't catch us first.
God's way more merciful than any of us deserve.
Many times, instead of letting us live with the consequences of our actions, He mercifully lessens the blow.
Instead of giving up on Sarah, He still gave her Isaac.
Instead of giving up on Abraham for giving in to his wife, He made him the father of two nations.
But notice it wasn't until thirteen years after Ismael was born that God came again and told Abraham he'd have a son by Sarah. Was that wait a consequence of his and Sarah's sin? I think it was. Is the unrest going on in the Middle East today a consequence of their faithlessness in God? I'm not sure, though I suspect so.****
There are always consequences to our actions.
Trust in God. Rely on Him. Don't be crazy enough to think you can do it alone.
*The picture of him in the other post is an old picture. He lost his right wing in July of 2011.
**Don't be too hard on him. After all, look at the size of his head. God didn't give birds much in the brains department.
***Of course, I'm not saying we shouldn't do anything. But think about it. George Muller prayed when he had a need, confident God would fulfill it if He wanted the orphan houses to stay open. What if some of these projects we're desperately trying to keep going aren't part of God's perfect plan?
****I am not saying the Arab nations should never have come into existence. They are a precious people that God loves. But the truth is, a lot of strife is happening between these two nations over who was truly Abraham's heir, something that may not have happened if Sarah hadn't used Hagar the way she did.