“My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home . . . “ (Psalm 84:2-3 NIV)
It’s Sunday already. I dread Sundays and I don’t want to go to church. From the ride in my parent’s car, shoved in the back seat, forced to listen to dated music, to my sister complaining that I pick on her too much, going to church is the worst.
As I drudged out to the car, the sound of my sister’s high pitched squeals broke the quiet. Jumping up and down under the large tree in our front yard, she frantically pointed to the very top branches.
“Dad, Mom, there’s a bird stuck up there and he can’t fly away!”
“Looks like a sparrow got caught in some string. Must have been flying with it in his claws. I’ll get a ladder and try to set it loose.”
I couldn’t believe it. Dad runs us like a military unit on Sunday mornings. He hated to be late for church. If we didn’t leave on schedule, we’d have to sit in the front like all the other latecomers.
I watched as he gently untangled the string on the frantic little bird’s claws. It would struggle and fight and then give up from exhaustion. Finally, almost fifteen minutes later, the bird flew away, leaving our sight as soon as it was free.
“That’s gratitude for you.” I huffed under my breath. “It doesn’t have to sit up front at church today!”
The drive to church went on as usual. My sister chattered about the little sparrow and went on and on about Dad being a hero.
As we climbed the steps to the sanctuary, Dad held my arm and let my sister and mom go ahead. He looked at me with an expression of love and compassion I hadn’t seen in a while. When he spoke to me, his words were carefully chosen.
“Son, that little bird reminded me how you’ve been fighting my guidance and turning away the Lord’s gift of freedom. I want you to know, I would do anything to give you the freedom I gave that little sparrow this morning. But you need to ask Jesus for your freedom. All this heavy anguish you carry is as confining as the sparrow’s tangled string. Stop fighting and let the Lord free your strings.”
He went on in to church. I wanted to lag behind, but I went and sat up front with him. That day, I went forward and asked Jesus to free me from my sin and bondage. As I lifted my head after praying, the weight was gone. Looking up, I could still see the sparrow flying away and I knew that as soon as I had quit struggling, I too was able to soar.
At times going to church and tagging along with family may seem unbearable, but if you just stop to listen, you might find someone really cares about you.