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Saved From The Fowler’s Snare

  |   Words of Grace

Believe it or not, Becky and I have become partial prisoners inside our own house for the past week and a half. You see, just outside our garage door, right next to Becky’s display of ornamental horticulture delights, a mockingbird family has decided to build a nest inside our four and a half foot tall bush, and raise their little family (see above photo). And for you collective noun fans, more than one mockingbird, or a group of mockingbirds, is known by a number of different terms: an impression (Oh, they’ve left an impression all right – on top of my head!), an exactness, echo, plagiary, precision or a ridicule of mockingbirds. I’m going with a ridicule of mockingbirds because that is exactly what they are doing every time I try to go in or out of my garage – they are ridiculing, tormenting, or mocking (hence their name) both Becky and me. They are indeed the bullies of the bird world.

Just to the right of the bush – probably less that three feet from the nest – is the push button pad that opens and closes the garage door that I will use if I’m going out for a run or bike ride, since the remote is in the car. At least twice Mr. Mockingbird has swooped out of our nearby sycamore tree to scare me away from his home – and it has worked. Once he actually hit my head; and another time he literally hovered two feet in front of my face, in essence telling me to ‘Back off Bud, you’ve entered my territory. This is a restricted area now!’

Oh great! I just read that the mockingbird is the state bird of Florida! No wonder he’s mad at me – he still thinks I’m a New Jerseyan Yankees fan! From what I also just read, the mockingbird family may stay here up to twelve days after the hatching of their offspring. Looks like I’ll have to find a place on Clearwater Beach until territorial thing is done with. A little bit ago I stood inside my opened garaged and tried to peer through the bush without being attacked, and I detected at least one baby mockingbird. Maybe if I placed a baby shower gift on top of the bush the mother and father would leave us alone.

As aggravating as it is to deal with an overly protective father and mother mockingbird, I completely understand their concern. They ‘love’ their new child and are willing to do whatever it takes to protect them from predators and from unkind, inpatient, or intolerable humans. Of course, this immediately causes me to think about a parent’s love for their child, and that they would do any and everything within their power to protect their loved ones. And although Becky is very independent and more than capable of taking care of herself, I know that she wants and expects me to protect her from harm as well. As a matter of fact, it is very common in most wedding vows for the man to say that he will promise to protect his wife. In the vows I use that line is: “I will protect you physically; emotionally and spiritually…”.

But even more than the protection provided by parents for their child, or a husband for his wife/family, is the protection that our heavenly Father has promised for His children. You see, as human parents, or as a husband, we can’t always be there when trouble comes into the lives of our loved ones, but our omniscient and omnipresent Lord God has promised that He would never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:8; Hebrews 13:5). As believers – followers of Christ – we have come to trust that God’s Word is His absolute Word to each of us, and what He has promised He will fulfill. It is very comforting for me to know that I am never alone; nothing takes the Lord by surprise; that He will stick closer to me than a brother, and that as my Father He will protect and fight for me. Here are a few of many verses that speak about the Lord’s eternal presence and protection:

Isaiah 41:9-11 – I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. “All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish.

Psalm 91:1-7 – Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.

Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

John 10:28-30 – I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

Isaiah 43:1-3 – But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! “When you pass through waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. “For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

Of course, we ALL should understand that even with the eternal promise and presence of the Lord God in our lives, we are still going to face trouble, turmoil, heartache, abuse, rejection, and pain, but we have the peaceful assurance granted by the Holy Spirit within our hearts that no matter what befalls us, Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33); He will repay the years the locust have eaten (Joel 2:25); He will avenge those who have hurt us (Romans 12:19); what others mean for harm, the Lord will use for good (Genesis 50:20); He will beauty for ashes and oil of joy for mourning (Isaiah 61:3); work all things together for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28); and we will always end up on the winning side – more like Christ and stronger in our faith (1 Corinthians 15:57; Romans 8:37; Ephesians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 4:8).

So, if you find yourself getting mocked by some at school because of your faith, because of who you are, or for no more identifiable reason other than people are sometimes mean; or if you find that you are facing trouble from the boss and co-workers, and you can’t pinpoint anything in particular that you are doing that is causing the strife; or if you are battling with disease or sickness; or relationship difficulties; or you find yourself overwhelmed because you are a single parent and it all falls upon you to fix and take care of everything; or if you are struggling with uncontrollable stress, anxiety, or depression; or if you just flat out feel that you are all alone….please be encouraged: Your heavenly Father, through Christ and His indwelling Spirit is with you, and He WILL fight for you, and He WILL never leave you alone, and He will forever keep His BIG LOVING AND STRONG ARMS wrapped around you. Remember what I quoted earlier from John 10:28 that Jesus said about our safety in the hands of the Triune God:

John 10:28-30 – I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

One last thing about mockingbirds and our heavenly Father: Not only are mockingbirds extremely protective of their territory and their family; they are fantastic singers. They can mimic the singing voice of many other birds – as a matter of fact, I read that two males in southern Florida were reported to have approximately 200 song types each! Mockingbirds will sing late at night – they will sing early in the morning – they will sing all day long. I like to think that they sing all the time because they have something joyful worth singing about, whether it’s life itself, their newborn, or as their way of singing praises to their Creator God. Well, our heavenly Father loves to sing as well. And His chief reason for singing is because there is something – someone – very special that He takes great delight in and causes Him to rejoice in song over….and that someone is YOU – His redeemed, transformed child.

Zephaniah 3:17 – The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.

Please don’t ever forget that!
And we can live with a mockingbird family living outside our garage, especially now when I think of their presence in terms of the Lord’s eternal presence and love for me – and for all of His redeemed children.

 

 

God does not remove us from all harm; He uses harm to move us close to Him.

 

Image credit:  Flickr