The Pocket Parrot. Also known as a Miniature Parrot, or by its official name:
Parrotlet. This smallest member of the parrot family was also the newest member
of our family. The little guy measured about 4 inches in length, from "stem to
stern", or in bird talk, from "beak to tail". Next to him, our resident
Cockatiel looked as big as a chicken! Although this blue-feathered baby had only
officially been a part of our family for 3 weeks, he had succeeded in worming
his way deeply into my son's heart -- oh, and also deeply into each of his shirt
collars, into every sleeve and pocket, and in one case, even down into his
underpants! Hence, the nickname, "Pocket Parrot"!
Precious, isn't it? But all of this "preciousness" only served to make the hurt worse when he died. It happened like this. Being so small (4 inches from "stem to stern"!), he loved to crouch and cling to tiny things. One of the things in his cage that he loved to cling to was a bell inlaid with mirror. And that's where he was the day it happened. His cage, unbeknownst to us as it's been cloudy nearly everyday since we got him, was hanging straight in the path of the afternoon sunshine that shone in my son's bedroom window. As he clung to the tiny mirrored bell, the sun moved directly in line with the little mirror and reflected its intense rays right back onto our little bird. The shock threw him into coma for about 9 hours before he actually stopped breathing. Knowing how heartbroken my son would be, as soon as he went into coma, we gathered around him, anointed him with oil, and prayed over him. Then we placed him in a shoebox and prayed for his healing. By the time we all went to bed a few hours later, the little guy was barely breathing, but he was still hanging on.
About 2:30 in the morning, I was awoken with the strong burden to pray -- something wasn't right, but I didn't know what. I started to pray in the Spirit, and I was impressed that I was praying for the bird. I stopped praying in the Spirit and began pleading with God for his life. But I had no peace. In the end, I knew what I had to do, and I did it: I handed him to Jesus. Immediately, I was overcome by peace. I knew that our bird was either healed, or he had died.
Hoping for the former, I asked God to give him back to me. In His ultimate love and kindness, God proceeded to give me the following little vision: I saw the little bid flying out of Jesus' hand, free and healed. I reached up my hand to take him, but Jesus sadly shook His head and pulled His hands out of my reach. "No," He said, "He's mine now."
Sure enough, when I came downstairs to check on him a few minutes later, he was gone.
I am ashamed to admit what I did next. I did something that I knew to be an effort in futility: I got mad at God. "Why, God?" I cried out. "What did he have to die? You could have healed him! What on earth am I going to say to my son!?" When my outburst didn't curb my anger, I got out my journal. I fully intended for my first entry to read like this: "Why, God???". But it didn't. God wouldn't let me write those words. When I put the pen to the paper, what came out went like this: "Don't you trust me enough to know what is best for your son?"
Well -- uh -- yes -- uh -- of course, God! Of course I -- uh -- I trust You . . . But why would the death of his bird be for the best, Lord? Why?
The next words went like this: "Oh the depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are His judgments, how unfathomable His ways."
About this time, my son, who never wakes up in the night, came down for a drink. "No, God!" I cried in my heart. "Not now! Let him get a good night's sleep first! Besides! I don't know what to say to him! I don't know how to help him through his grief! I don't understand. How can I make him understand! Let me understand first!"
But God's instructions were clear. "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Child, let go. You don't have to fix everything in his life. Give his feelings to Me!"
Oh, that was hard! My pride dictated that I should be the one fixing my son's problems. But begrudgingly, I relinquished control. What followed was truly beautiful: My son and I sat down together and talked and cried, prayed, told stories and read Scripture for nearly 2 hours. The words that came out of my mouth must have come directly from God, because in the end, my son did understand. He understood that he didn't need to understand why, all he needed to do was trust God explicitly to know what was best. And he understood that in doing so, he was opening the door to receive a blessing.
The blessing didn't take long to come. My son had saved his money for over a year to buy this bird and when he died, he realized it would be another year before he'd have enough saved up for another bird. Later that same afternoon, we received an e-mail from the breeder who sold us the bird. He offered my son another one of his birds, for free! He said he had a clutch that would be ready in about 5 weeks, but that at this time he didn't know if there were any blue males in the clutch.
My son was comforted by the thought that he would receive another bird and would only have to wait 5 weeks. He decided that he didn't care if the bird was blue or green, as long as it was a male, and we proceeded to tell the breeder this. Of course, 5 weeks did not land on a long weekend, and with the breeder being a 4 hour drive away, just going to pick him up would be burdensome. But God had something even better in mind.
The next day, we received an e-mail from the breeder stating that if my son didn't mind a green bird, he still had our bird's brother, and he could have him as soon as transportation could be arranged! Well, my son thought that having his bird's brother would be almost like having his bird back, and he readily agreed. He especially liked the part about not having to wait 5 weeks! Now there was only the dilemma of how to get the bird from point "A" to point "B"!
But God wasn't finished. The breeder then told us that he has a friend who would be moving to our city the following weekend and he would ask the friend to bring my son his new bird!
Were we blessed, or what? And all because, like Job, my son did not curse God. Instead, he praised Him and trusted Him to know what was best! But the story doesn't end here.
One of the things that came out of my mouth that morning as we sat and talked was "Maybe his death will help bring somebody closer to Jesus!" A week later, I ran into an old friend who was going through more problems than any human should have to bear. I was impressed to tell her about our pocket parrot, his death, and how God was providing for another bird, free of charge, transportation included, in a short period of time. When I finished the story, she told me this was exactly what she needed to hear right then!
What transpired with my friend is what inspired me to write up this story about our Pocket Parrot. My hope is that at least one of you out there will realize that though God doesn't always prevent bad things from happening, our response to those bad things can help to dictate how much good can come out of it in the end!
My friends, I don't know what it is that you are each dealing with. For some, it may be death. For others, relationship problems. For still others, financial problems, work problems, illness, etc. But whatever it is, remember that it isn't too big for God! Give the problem to Him, then trust Him that no matter what happens, it will be for the best. Praise Him for the choices He makes, then sit back and watch the God of Heaven open His storehouse and pour out more blessings than you will be able to hold! What an awesome God!!!
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