Broken-winged Pluck

I’ve learned a lot from watching birds. The eagle resting and rising on the thermal, the crow audaciously chasing the eagle or burying the cracker on the ocean bluff, the white-breasted nuthatch steadily working alongside the sparrow, the dove softly cooing, the bluejay cleverly stealing half my hot dog, the Buff Orpington hen hiding so well from predators, the Araucana hen mothering not only her own chicks with extraordinary wisdom but any leftover chicks from the rest of the flock – and then chasing butterflies among the flowers! I’ve marveled at these creatures that reveal God’s eye for beauty, grace, and now, sheer pluck…

We have a black bird with a broken wing living in our backyard. He’s been there for two months, even though it’s the dead of winter here in Albany, New York. He hangs on through the freezing temps, falling snow, and icy rains. He’s chased by the squirrels, gets only the leftovers the others leave behind, and yet, he hangs around. The highest he flies is a hop to the picnic table, from there to the fence and from there to a tree. But, he doesn’t give up.

He reminds me of my own life with a “broken wing.” And yet God loves me and cares for me (Psalm 84:3; Matthew 10:29-31; Luke 12:6-7). Like God delights in me, I delight in that bird with the broken wing. And like God provides for my needs day by day, I make sure there’s food in the feeder that the other birds will kick out on the ground for our broken-wing pal.

The little black bird with the broken-wing reminds me that success isn’t measured by the size of my world or my conquests. It’s measured in day-by-day faithfulness, using the gifts God has already poured out for me, and being willing to receive whatever more He’s ready to give.

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