It was like any other afternoon that had come before during that week. Sunny and mild with a slight breeze swirling around making the outside weather pleasant. The month of April had been the coolest in decades. The summer heat had been put on hold and Spring was really allowed to come into full swing. Here in Texas we don’t get many pleasant Spring days before the heat comes storming in. So even though we had to go out to do chores, it was just a pleasure to be outside.
Mrs. Frog and I have a routine, I mow and trim the hedges if necessary and she edges and trims the weeds. We have a system that works, and we have learned how to finish the yard work in an hour, hour and a half if the hedges are involved. That day was going the same as the last fifty times that we had tended to the yard. In fact, I was done with the front yard and didn’t even break a sweat. A rare achievement for this frog. Mrs. Frog only had the two sides of the house to run down and she would soon be joining me in the back yard shortly. Now I’m not sure how you mow, but I was taught to go around the perimeter first and work your way in towards the middle. So I was off, singing a tune in my head and mowing down anything in my way. I get to the back fence and get close to the corner that would take me back towards the house when something catches my eye. It was a little robin fledgling hopping around the very corner of the yard trying desperately to get away from the lawnmower. He hopped up onto the bottom railing of the fence and pressed into the corner as hard as he could.
I stopped the mower and called Mrs. Frog, who was by the peach tree, over to investigate with me. She felt sorry for the little guy, as did I. Of course, we were not going to hurt him, but he didn’t know that. I told her to see if she could corral him behind the shed, so he would be out of the way and not get hit by any flying debris. He was all too happy to oblige. With that out of the way the rest of the yard went like clockwork. As we were gathering up the tools on the back patio, Mrs. Frog remarked how she wished there was something we could do to help him. I told her that during that age they are learning how to survive and if we helped we could be hurting him in the long run. Plus, the parents are usually around to help them along during this phase. So we packed it up and called it a night, leaving the fledgling undisturbed in the back yard.
It was unlike any other afternoon that had come before during that week. A storm front had come in and cooled things down into the upper 40’s to low 50’s. It rained all day long and the wind was more than it had been the previous days. But since this April had been so mild I didn’t think anything of it. That is, until we got home and Mrs. Frog brought up the little robin we had seen the day before. She had hoped that he didn’t get under the shed and get flooded out. I told her not to worry since there was a good nine inches between the ground and the bottom of the shed. I readied my food prep for the next day and proceeded upstairs to take my shower since we didn’t have to workout that day. As I am drying off there is a knock on the door and she enters in right after. I look up and tears are streaming down her face. At first, I thought something had happened to Hershey or one of her family members. But I quickly found out that wasn’t the case at all. The little fledgling that I had told her not to worry about was in trouble.
She had gone out to the back fence to look for him and found him lying on his side, completely drenched and barely moving. The only way she could tell he was alive was by him very slowly moving his beak like he was gasping for air. She didn’t know what to do and I could tell that she felt helpless. I told her to grab the shoebox that her new sandals had come in and get him in it to bring him inside. We would then look up an animal hospital to find out what our options were next. After calling and finding out what to do, we sprung into action. She took him upstairs and put her hair dryer on him to slowly warm him up and get him dry. I found a nice sized box and lined it with our softest towels, so he would have a warm and comfortable place to recuperate. Thirty minutes later he was warm, dry, and as snug as a bird in a box. He was to be our guest for the night and we would release him the next day.
Mrs. Frog took her shower and checked on him again before she came downstairs. He was doing okay. A little slow moving but he had been freezing all day long. Less than ten minutes later she had to go back upstairs and while she was up there, she looked in on him again. Only this time, things had changed. She came back downstairs with a blank look on her face and just shook her head before the tears came again. The little fledgling who had fought all day to stay alive in the rain and cold, abandoned by his parents and us, had passed away alone. I went upstairs with her to see for myself and he was already stiff. We just stood there looking at him for a while in disbelief. Mrs. Frog was sobbing, and I was doing all I could to hold back tears. There was nothing more we could do except to wrap him up and take him out.
The rest of the night was a blur and I was practically worthless. I have been told that I have a soft heart, but I have never had an animal affect me that much. Later that night when I was in my prayer closet I talked to God about the bird. I began to cry uncontrollably telling Him that I was sorry and asking for forgiveness that we didn’t get to him sooner. Perhaps if we had, things might have turned out differently. That with everything going on in the world, all the sadness, despair, and to top it off, what the UK was doing to Alfie Evans, I wanted to save a life. I wanted to try and bring some joy back into the world. But I was not to receive and answer that night. Instead there was just emptiness. And that emptiness followed us into the next couple of days.
Friday morning’s sunrise was beautiful. Orange rays rising to meet the white clouds turning them into a light purple against the backdrop of the blue sky that you could just barely see. Mrs. Frog remarked how she felt sad that the bird would miss that sunrise and all the others that followed. As most know, time does heal wounds and we are feeling a bit better, but the questions remain. The whys. Why did this little bird have to die? Why did he have to die alone? Mrs. Frog was just there minutes before he passed…why? Why were his parents not around to help him? Why?
I may never receive the answers to those questions. But after having a few days to reflect on the events, I believe that I have discovered a message that the Lord was trying to give me.
“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.”
We are so loved by our Father. He has laid out the plans for our lives and He wishes nothing but the best for us. He took His time in forming us, crafting our individually distinct personalities. You are unique, there is no one else exactly like you on this planet. And for Someone to pour all of that creativity into us, surely we are loved. And to prove that love even more, we have been given a second chance for life. We have been given a Savior Who took our death upon Himself so that we may live.
Jesus came to this world so “that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10). Your debt has been paid. You may live this life in freedom and need not be afraid. You are not alone. And when the time comes that you are called home, you will not be alone then either. You will not be like the little fledgling, alone and seeing your existence fade not knowing what comes after. Instead you will be sure in the fact that you are going to the next life, the eternal life to be with your Creator.
My friends, you have been given an opportunity. You do not have to lose hope. With Christ there is always hope! There is a love that is stronger than the grave. And we have been given access to it by just accepting the free gift of salvation. There is nothing more that you need to do. You do not have to completely change everything about yourself. Come! Come as you are! He died for you while you were in your sin and despair. He died for you while you cared nothing for Him. He died for you so that the two of you can be together living life and having peace for all time. Please, do not pass up on this opportunity. Do not be like the little fledgling, lost and out in the cold with no hope. Come to the altar! The fountain of living water is refreshing and has enough for everyone to drink. Partake of it and be saved!