When Sparrows Fall
This morning, sometime around 5:00 a.m., I was up making my coffee. I sleepily stepped out the back door off of the kitchen to put some clothes out on the line. Next to the door, I noticed in the early morning light, a baby sparrow on the ground. Picking him (or her) from the ground, I noticed he was cold to the touch and barely moving. Thinking of giving him a comfortable end, I brought him in and placed him in a warm little plastic box.
Having cared baby birds on and off over the years, I prepared something to feed the little one. While it took some time, and a tiny pair of tweezers, he finally began to eat. His prognosis went from “guarded” to “fair” as the signs of life grew stronger.
I’m finding myself enamored with this little bird. I’ve dared to name him “Sparky” because of the spark of life that is in him.
After a few hours, Sparky decided to move around in his little box that was on a trunk in my room. When I went to check on him, I found the box empty. Getting down on my knees, I scanned the floor behind the trunk and there, I found Sparky. Deciding his “sparky-ness” is what got him in trouble in the first place by falling out of the nest, I got a bigger box. Hopefully this box will keep him safe.
The trajectory of today was changed when a sparrow fell.
Disposable, Or Not?
Sparrows are so common that they are often thought to be “disposable.” If one falls, why bother? There are literally millions, if not billions, of them filling our skies. It may not matter in the grand scheme of things, when one sparrow falls, but it does matter to that one sparrow.
Sparky is still not out of the woods. Baby birds are fragile creatures requiring gentle care. My hands tremble as I gingerly grab pieces of food with the tweezers and watch him gobble them up. I apologize to him for not have grasshoppers or ants. I also wonder what kind of pet he might for us until he’s ready to fly away.
I may be premature in my thinking, he first has to survive.
In 2008 we were living in Malawi. We had been in the country for a year and a half establishing a new work. Wherever we find ourselves working, one of the things I love to do is feed hungry children, little sparrows that have fallen from their nests. With the help of Hand of Hope and others, we started a feeding program in a small village called “Mtsiliza.”
Just in Case
By that time, I had worked in feeding outreaches for many years. I knew that I needed to be prepared to help just in case a child was abandoned in the village. Extreme poverty, such as what we faced (and still face) in Mtsiliza, can cause people to do the unthinkable. I’ve learned over the years never to assume what I would have done or wouldn’t have done in their situations. I did not grow up in their surroundings or challenges. How can I possibly know what I would have done had I been faced with the same set of circumstances?
All I can do is help pick up the sparrows when they fall.
The Crisis Nursery
Through a series of events, I found the “Crisis Nursery” in our city of Lilongwe. The Crisis Nursery takes in children in crisis situations and works to either reunite them with family or place them with adoptive families. They kindly agreed to work with me in case their help was ever needed. Leaving their offices one day, I noticed a sign posted on their door saying “extra hands” were needed to cuddle the babies.
At the time, we had three children. One had already left the nest and was out on his own. The other two weren’t far behind him and we felt visiting the Crisis Nursery would be an eye-opening experience for them.
Walking into the Crisis Nursery as a family the Monday after Easter, we found babies everywhere. We also toured both the toddlers’ and infants’ rooms, tears streaming down our faces as we listened to their stories.
A baby boy was left in a field and dogs were trying to eat him.
Another was found in an outdoor toilet.
And still others abandoned in local hospitals.
Choose for Us
One of the staff members, a nurse, invited us to sit in a common area where visitors could feed and care for the babies. Our hearts melted. Over the years, we held our hearts open to adopt a child. The only request we placed before the Lord was for Him to choose for us.
Suddenly, the same staff member who had escorted us into the room placed the tiniest of babies, a little girl, on my husband’s chest. With great flourish she said, “This one is yours.” Our eyes locked, those words were all we needed. God had chosen for us. That afternoon, we went home with paperwork to begin the process of adoption. We picked up a little sparrow that had fallen from the nest.
No One Goes Unnoticed
While not every child that needs a home nor every sparrow that falls finds a nest, God sees each and every one.
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.Matthew 10:29-30 MEV
Our family, God’s family, is big and the way He gets His work done is through His family. Our Father is a family man and as such, we should have the interests of our family at heart. Each and every person has a role to play in building the family and bringing the lost members home.
- If orphans aren’t being cared for
- If people are homeless
- If the elderly need care
- If the sick need visiting in the hospital
Then we, the family, are not doing our job.
She Won’t Fall Again
It didn’t take long for Andreya to gain strength after coming home. Abandoned at a village hospital when her mother died, she laid in a cot without much cuddling until we came along. It was as if she was waiting for us. This sparrow found a nest that she wouldn’t fall from.
Sparrows Have Voices
Time has a way of healing broken things. Our Dreya (as we call her) was 3 1/2 months old when she came to us and barely weighed seven pounds. As soon as she came home, we enveloped her with love and care. Our older two at home argued over who would get to feed and hold her.
Then, she began to grow.
I’ll never forget her first laugh. We had traveled Stateside a little over a month after her homecoming. Up until that time, Andreya hadn’t laughed or smiled. Her daddy was playing with her one afternoon and suddenly, out came the sweetest laugh. The sparrow found her voice.
I wonder if the enemy, Satan, works to silence the sparrows because of their potential, because of what they will do with their lives once they learn how to fly.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world.James 1:27 MEV
One of the purest expressions of our faith is found in what we do for those who can’t return the favor. The way things usually work in our world today is by the “I help you, you help me” method. We like to help others knowing that they somehow “owe us” a favor. I find it curious that we, who have a Father Who loved us purely without condition, find it difficult to love others purely. What has brought us to this place? Have we forgotten from where we have come?
Andreya came home from school this afternoon declaring that Sparky is no longer Sparky, he is now “Jack Sparrow.” I had to admit that the name is a good fit. She declared, as she watched him gobble up his afternoon snack, that he will live because he has made it this far.
Can you hear him? Jack Sparrow is singing.