Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Caring for cardinals

When I opened the front door at six in the morning I expected to see Pippy and Patches patiently waiting to be welcomed back into the house after their daily morning trip to the great outdoors. What I didn't expect to see was a baby cardinal jumping frantically on the porch, practically flinging itself into the wooden door. The moment the door swung open Pippy pranced back into the house but not Patches. The old and feeble cat swatted at the bird in a lame attempt to snag a feathery breakfast. The frantic bird jumped straight up and down like a frog, simultaneously moving in a zig-zag shuffle.
The aged attack cat was looking quite spry in those brief moments. Her paws were swatting at the bird and a stern look (if cat's can display such emotion) was written on her face. I tried to scoop Patches up and away from her prey but she squirmed out of my grasp. A scene of horror and flying feathers flashed through my mind until something remarkable happened.
In a moment tailor-made for a Snow White sequel two cardinals swooped in from the yard and onto the porch. They chirped and tweeted in hurried, high-pitched tones. And then they descended upon the little limping cardinal. And then, in the blink of an eye, the two strong birds swirled around the weak bird, lifted him up and carried him away, out of the reach of the enemy cat and back to the protection of the bird house in the front yard.
I rubbed my eyes just to make sure I wasn't dreaming. Sure enough, I was awake. My eyes weren't playing tricks on me. A bird-to-bird rescue had just taken place on my porch and I had been witness to its success.
That morning I took a few extra minutes to stand on the front porch, stunned and perplexed by the remarkable scene I had just watched unfold in front of my eyes. In those brief, quiet moments before the rest of the house was awake, school buses rumbled by or dogs went out on their daily walks, a sweet song of the birds filled the air. Their tune serenaded me with truth and in the stillness I heard lyrics accompany the melody line. "Look and see how God cares for the cardinals... You, dear child, are worth more than many cardinals."
Sometimes I question whether God is actually caring for me. I survey my physical circumstances, comparing myself to my healthy and vibrant peers, and wonder if God has forgotten this little cardinal on the porch. Frantically I've jumped up and down and side to side in an attempt to free myself from the grips of my symptoms. I've chirped and tweeted countless S.O.S calls, pleading for rescue and relief.
Has God forgotten me? Has He abandoned this little set of vulnerable, hurt feathers?
The bird on the porch reminded me that I am not forsaken or forgotten. God has certainly not abandoned me nor neglected my calls for help. The rescue mission just isn't over yet.
I'll never know how long that little bird was hopping around on the front porch, but by the look in Patches' eyes, I imagine it was more than the brief seconds I witnessed. The bird rescue team didn't swoop in the moment the bird fell from the nest and ventured into a danger zone. The bird's circumstances looked hopeless before deliverance descended on the doomed cardinal.
The scene of the daring rescue and delightful song that followed reminded me that simply because God hasn't rescued my physical body from its distress just yet doesn't mean He isn't watching, waiting and staging a story-book rescue mission. He sees my need and hears my distress calls. At the perfect moment, before my enemy can snatch me away with all the evil intent of Patches' furry paw, God will save me because I am His beloved child more precious than countless cardinals.

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