One of the greatest blessings God has bestowed on humans is to care for and love His creation. Adam was the first steward and the mandate to nurture the living world has never left. For our family, loving the small, weak and helpless is an important element of who we are. There is, however, a price to be paid for such love. A living sacrifice is required.
The injured gull
Yesterday I had an idea to go on a morning walk with Wanda around a neighborhood close to the motel. We have not done this for some time, but the day was calm and clear so the choice was easy. As we progressed around our usual path, we happened along a gull laying by the side of the road. It was clear that the bird had a broken leg and wing from an encounter with a car. His eyes indicated no internal problems so I moved to help him.
Carefully I placed my hands around the injured wing and body, then lifted him gently to my chest. The gull did not fight me. Wanda and I abandoned our walk and headed to the motel. We knew of a bird sanctuary in the next city that helped injured animals, and so planned to take our injured friend there.
Although the bird rested in my arms, he was still a wounded wild creature. When Wanda tried to touch him he snapped his beak on her finger. Wanda was not hurt, but quickly learned this bird would not allow anyone else to touch it.
Walking along the road, with blood dripping on to my clothing, we received some odd looks. I guess carrying around an injured gull is not as common as I was led to believe.
Soon we approached the motel and passed a lady by the roadside. She wanted to see the gull and when she reached out he snapped at her finger too. This bird would allow some help, but definitely did not want to be touched.
Finally, we arrived at our car. Wanda placed some towels in the bottom of a box and I laid the bird on top. We tried to put a towel over him so he would not snap at me, but he did grab my thumb. I ignored the pain and made sure our charge was safe in the box. When he was covered, I eased my thumb from his beak. Once settled, we drove to the sanctuary; leaving him in the care of professionals where we knew he would be safe.
The injured soul
In our journey of uncompromising faith, we have encountered many such injured creatures. Most of them are human; with injuries not visible to the eye. They carry their wounds in their hearts, their minds and their wills. Trauma from childhood, sickness, and pain, bruise and batter their spirits until it is left, like the gull, lying helplessly by the side of the road. We do not see this pain for it is not obvious.
These injured and hurting people fill the pages of Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites with tales of glory; but inside their wounded spirits are crying out. We are taken in by the exterior, but miss the crying child inside the shell. Every so often God opens our eyes and we can see the pain tearing our heart of love. He is blessing us with the opportunity to be a steward over His creation.
Helping the poor and needy, the beautiful wounded, will not leave us unscathed.
By yielding our bodies as a living sacrifice, before those that carry the internal injury, will allow them to strike against us. The pain they carry will cause them to lash out; even at those that desire to help. We absorb the sting of ‘self’ in order to bring them to their Healer. Our spirits will be scarred by the harsh and cutting words, but the Father will heal those too. We cannot slink back from this sacred task any more than we could leave the injured gull by the side of the road. Love compels us to help those in need.
Being a living sacrifice for others is the way we show Christ’s love to His creation; be it animal, bird or human. Jesus did not flinch when the collective pain of man lashed His back and nailed Him to the cross. We can only follow in His footsteps. As we lay our lives down, to help those that sting from the deep wounding they carry, we are becoming like Him. We are not concerned with what injury may come, only that the injured may live to fly again someday.
Homer and Wanda