One day I went for a walk in my neighborhood and came upon a young starling caught in blueberry netting, his feet so entangled they secured him to a twig. Because he couldn’t move, I was able to hold him, quivering, as I carefully unraveled the binding strands. Once freed, I held him for a magical moment before lifting the net to aid his escape.
Like the starling, so easily we get ourselves into impossible places, and before long, we’re stuck. And we, too, need a rescuer. Let’s consider three strands that tie us up pretty quickly—resentment, disappointment, and discouragement.
Resentment is to feel a sense of injury or insult. Job 5:2 says that “Resentment kills a fool.” I’ve been there and I’m sure you have, too. How is resentment transformed? By choosing to forgive. Forgiving a serious offense means that as each new layer of pain surfaces, I repeatedly choose to let go of the debt owed me.
Life brings many disappointments. However, mid-life is particularly poignant in bringing us face to face with things-that-can-now-most-certainly-never-be. Shattered dreams require time to grieve, but it’s easy to get stuck in our sense of loss, our sadness, and our anger. In disappointment it is critical that we gain perspective. Lay your disappointments at the feet of Jesus. Just as the Lord invites us to bring him our anxieties, we may bring our disappointments. In other words, “Cast all your [disappointments] on him because he cares for you” (I Peter 5:7).
Let resentment and disappointment fester too long and you will become discouraged. In fact, you may despair. But remember, GOD is not in despair over our lives! He has a plan, and a purpose, and He has good intentions towards us always. Regardless of what your life looks like right now. Is there a “new normal” God is calling you to? What would surrender and acceptance look like?
We need hope to combat our dejection. The more we look at what we do not want, what we do not have, and what we cannot do, the more discouraged we will become. However, the more we focus on what we are for—what we are grateful to have, what we CAN do, and decide what we really want, the sooner we begin to see possibilities beckoning ahead.
Submit to God
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? ~ Matthew 6:26
There’s a postscript to the story of the freed bird. Two days later I walked that neighborhood again. This time I saw several birds trapped under the same blueberry netting, frantically flapping to get out. However, unlike the bird I freed, their feet were not bound, forcing them to be still.
I tried lifting the net and shooing them out, but I was not able to help them because they were too focused on beating their wings against the top of the net. To fly low and find the hole I’d opened at the bottom would have meant going against their instinct. I thought, Little birdies, if you’d only sit still for a moment, you’d see the way out I’ve created for you.
We can be just like them. Panic-stricken, we desperately try to free ourselves from our addictions, our circumstances, our problems. But just like these frantic birds, we can’t find our own way out. It’s only when we get quiet in complete surrender to the Lord that we can we be helped.
Perhaps you’re feeling all tied up in your life today. It may feel too frightening to even let your Rescuer come near. You fear that the process of deliverance will be more painful than you can bear. Like the birds, you may feel scared, fragile, and vulnerable. But trust Him. It may take time for God to free you from your bonds, but believe that you will fly again.
Lord, I’m scared of what it will take to get me unstuck. But I know that you are the only one who can truly free me from the things that bind. Here I am. I surrender. In Jesus name, Amen.