The small, brown bird didn’t flinch as I approached. He sat, perfectly still, tufts of feathers standing on end, just inches away from my foot.
Only his eyes moved, wide and sickly, watching as I tiptoed around him. Finally, slowly, he hopped twice and tried to take flight. But he didn’t have enough energy or momentum and he barely lifted off the ground.
He mustered his power and tried again. His small body collapsed against the low wall surrounding the path.
He was trapped on the walkway, stranded without food or even soft grass beneath his feet.
Consider the sparrow: he doesn’t sow or reap, and yet your Heavenly Father provides for him.
This is how God provided for the sparrow. The sparrow was sick and trapped in a concrete jungle, a man-made prison that had all but removed any trace of the God Who Provides. He could not fly, he was struck with terror and at the mercy of giants who passed by regularly.
How could the God Who Provides be present here? This was not provision. It was not enough.
He was going to die.
The little bird gingerly raised onto his legs once more. He turned, slowly, considering the desolation around him. And then, carefully and painfully, the tiny, broken animal began to walk.
One miniscule step at a time, the bird traversed the full length of the path, into the grass beyond, full of seeds and bugs and all good things to eat. A safe place to rest, perhaps still to die.
But he had walked home.
I have rarely found God’s provision to be what I expect. I have found myself trapped in a man-made prison of fear and want, fighting to find my way out, crashing into walls on my way down.
There have been two devastating earthquakes in Nepal. There is an uprising in Burundi, terrorism in the middle east, a massive trail derailment and children who do not have enough to eat. It would appear that God is an inept or uncaring provider. He is not enough.
Because we, and all those we love, are going to die.
And in the meantime, there is so very much to fear.
Yet I consider the sparrow.
Even the broken sparrow was able to walk safely home. In the midst of broken wings and debilitating illness, God provided stumpy little legs that carried him painstakingly into the field.
On my best days, all I can claim is stumpy little legs that shuffle me towards home.
Perhaps it is enough.
Photo by Micolo J, via flickr.