In college, I watched my ornithology professor capture live birds by stretching a flexible net across a clearing. Birds blindly flew into the fine mesh. He gently untangled each sparrow or finch, clasped the bird firmly, jotted down some notes, and attached a leg band. After a few minutes, the professor’s hand opened and let the small captive escape.
Held immobile and trembling, it was obvious no captured bird felt safe. Yet, the sparrows and finches couldn’t possibly understand one thing: the best place to be was in the professor’s hand. His presence protected them. Foxes, snakes, and hawks—no predator dared come near.
Scripture proclaims we dwell in Jesus’ hand. We are never outside His tender care. Like the netted bird, God’s plans for us are unknown, but they don’t include skipping over life’s pain, confusion, and heartbreak.
Two years ago, my brother Chris committed suicide. For four days, I sat by his badly damaged body in the ICU. During that dark horror, Jesus held me tenderly in His hand. I arrived in Michigan, praying to “see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” The Holy Spirit answered by opening my eyes. I always get lost in Detroit—I had no GPS—but easily found the hospital. Enterprise slashed their car rental rates. A friend spoke healing truth to me. “Maureen, Chris chose to do this!” My cousin—who always makes me laugh—was visiting at her daughter’s new house, twenty minutes from the hospital. The ICU staff understood they had two trauma patients to treat, not one.
After my brother died, the Lord continued to provide His loving practical help. As Christians, we don’t avoid life’s pain. Jesus doesn’t wrap His followers in saran wrap and place us on a shelf. But He knows first-hand about human suffering and darkness. Are you heartsick today? Do you feel abandoned by God? Your Savior is beside you—you dwell in His nail-scarred hand.
In our deepest despair, we aren’t alone. God is actively working, even if we don’t notice. Like the captured sparrows, Jesus untangles us from the net, tends us in our pain, and holds us tenderly in His hand. When you feel helpless and caught, remember you are safe in His palm.
(Photo courtesy of morguefile and AJenyon.)
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