The story is told of a man who built a bird aviary as a hobby. He once raised a rabbit which had been abandoned. One day he came into the aviary to feed the rabbit with carrot sticks. But for some reason the rabbit refused to eat. It kept going over to a spot on the floor of the aviary, nuzzling something. The man stooped down and found an almost lifeless young bird, lying flat on the ground. The man gently lifted the little bird’s body, discovering it was still alive, but only barely.
He took the little bird over to a pot of soup, carefully taking a medicine dropper, giving the bird a few drops of the soup. Over the next few days and weeks, the little bird was able to walk. Eventually it was able to fly. Every time the man went into the aviary the bird would fly over and land on his shoulder. The bird would also fly over and land on the rabbit’s back!
This true story is a parable about how much God cares for us. God gently lifts us up when we think we’re goners. God feeds and nourishes us ever so gently, nurturing us back to the fullness of life.
I saw a quote the other day that really struck me: “Jesus didn’t come to made bad people good. Jesus came to make dead people alive.” Being a Christian is far more than “being good.” Being a Christian is to be dead to sin and evil. Being a Christian means to be alive in Christ.
We all have moments when we feel down and out, almost dead, even. Christians know and believe that God doesn’t give us on us. God cares deeply for us and will bring us back to life. God knows when we have fallen, and will love us back to life. God will never forsake us. When we live into the healing God gives us, we really want to hang out in the presence of God.
When preparing my last sermon, a strong thought came to me. We often talk about “accepting Jesus into our hearts.” As beautiful and true as that faith-statement is, there’s a more beautiful truth. By his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus accepts US into HIS HEART! There is no greater comfort than knowing we live in the heart of Jesus.
At the end, when our bodies can no longer survive in this world, God still doesn’t abandon us. In Christ, God will heal us and give us eternal health, eternal life. And we will fly forever in the presence of God. That’s a promise!