Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Sparrow Falls

A small brown sparrow lay near the edge of the sidewalk, much too still. I thought of how a sparrow cannot fall to the ground apart from God’s will. As my feet continued down the sidewalk, my thoughts took two different paths as the complimentary roles of pragmatist and dreamer played thoughts through my head.

The pragmatist, my practical side, thought of an acquaintance once asking, “If God is so good, and knows about that little sparrow, then why let it die?” Thankfully, God is large enough for all of our questions. The answer is one I have muddled through at times, when confronted with the “whys” in life, especially when taking my own limited viewpoint into consideration. Why God did you let this tragedy occur? God, why didn’t you take care of this need the way I thought it should be taken care of? Why God have you not answered on my timeline? And, while we are on the subject God, why did you answer that other prayer in that manner? Like the curious child, I can catch a case of the incurable whys. My desire is for real answers – not a stuffy, “because I said so,” or interminable silence where my impatience causes me unfruitful exercise in jumping to incorrect conclusions. I want to understand and the question is worth consideration. I think it is in the searching itself that my mind and heart are forced to stretch; as if thought were a stiff muscle yielding to new directions and allowing me to consider my presupposed answers differently.

God allows tragedy and discord on earth, but does so with a complete picture in place, and a purpose that cannot be overridden by our life happenings. It is the sovereignty of God that I must first point to, and my assurance that his plan will not fail. Let me reiterate that as the ultimate authority, God is in complete control, with an understanding and perspective that is complete and whole; very different from my own. My choice in the matter is whether I will trust, if I will rest, in God’s sovereignty. Although I have already made the lifetime decision to trust in God as my Savior, there are many moments when a life turns a path in a direction I have not expected and I renew my decision to trust my Father to guide me along the correct path. It is with this restful trust I can hope, that I can keep faith, trust rooted in the solidity of love. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulations, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” This is not a trust made of tissue paper, easily torn and crumpled; but one of strength which breaks down walls, redesigns lives, and builds beautiful new creations. 

 Of course, I must let the dreamer have a voice as well. It is what allows me to see the potentials, the possibilities and beautifully abstract ideas. My thoughts took a completely different path along this route, thinking of the sparrow as a metaphor. A little bird, small and in the amazing world of feathered creatures, rather unremarkably colored. They eat seeds and insects, living amongst flocks of like creatures and chattering away in cloud of song. How many little sparrows are in my world that can rise or fall on a given day? Little things make up much larger parts of my life, like bricks paving a walk. Remove a brick and the absence is noticed briefly; remove many and the absence is felt. Knowing God is aware of the feathered flying sparrows in life reminds me that he is also aware of my own sparrows. It is not a far away and distant stranger to whom I pray, but a friend who walks along with me.

Little sparrows in my life are often the things I find myself wanting to hang my mood on. If I feel I have been productive, receive an unexpected compliment or criticism, watch my plans go slightly awry or be improved; these are just a few of my sparrows. It’s when the car won’t start, windows need to be washed, too many good things force prioritizing of time, and a stranger brightens my day; those are all little sparrows. I remind myself that the car repair is cheaper than the car payment, I’m grateful to have windows and ways to clean them, what a blessing it is to have so many good things that prioritizing is necessary, and try to pass along that stranger’s brightness to someone else. These are all sparrows for me. Small happenings, but regardless are known by my Father. Just as nothing is too large to be taken to God, nothing is too small as well.

“Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Matthew 10:27-31