Sunday, March 23, 2014

"Near and Dear"

    While walking yesterday, I came upon the remains of a cardinal.  The bird appeared to have been hit by a car, but his body retained the beautiful color that characterizes my favorite member of the species.  The sight touched my heart because I love cardinals, and also because I cannot recall ever seeing one that had died.

    Someone else also holds birds dear in the heart. 

    "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing (1/4 of a penny)?   And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father" (Matthew 10:29).

    The Bible proclaims God's intimate, perpetual, and loving involvement in all things.  "The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works" (Psalm 145:).  We must hold this perception of our Lord both deeply in our hearts, and frequently allowing it to bubble to the surface of our consciousness.  We do so because it is true, and also because we cannot rightly relate to God or to people apart from the conviction that even a tiny sparrow's demise draws the Lord near.

"A sparrow fell unto the earth this morning,
a broken wing carried it unto its death.
And though no human eye was there to see it falling,
that little one was not alone as it took its last breath."
     "Ye are of more value than many sparrows" declared the Lord Jesus to His disciples (Luke 12:7).  Later He would give His lifeblood to confirm and affirm how much human beings, including you and me, mean to Him.  "Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold... but with the precious blood of Christ" (I Peter 1:18-19).  Our highest thoughts and most vivid imaginations fall far short in fathoming the intrinsic worth God places on our person, life, and being.  Sparrows matter to Him, so much so that He graces the death of such little ones with His loving presence.  We matter more.  Thus, in both life and death, our Heavenly Father graces His trusting children in Christ with the gift of Himself: "I am with thee always" (Matthew 28:20).  Such truth, embraced and maintained by His grace as received through faith, fills and fulfills the hearts of all who truly realize how near and dear we are to the heart of God.

    I thought about such things as I looked upon the fallen cardinal, still beautiful even in its stilled repose.  Indeed, just at these sublimely beautiful creatures bless me with appreciation for the Artist who paints their plumage in life, so this one blessed me in remembrance of the Father who draws near in death.  Moreover, I remembered our Lord's greater concern for us.  No truth more motivates us to reciprocate by ourselves drawing near to the Lord, and thus, to find our hearts changed into the same image of loving devotion to Him and to others.

"He careth for you."
(I Peter 5:7)
"Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children"
(Ephesians 5:1)

Weekly Memory Verse
    For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
(I Corinthians 3:19)

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