The Lost Cockatiel

by | May 29, 2000 | Miracles, Provision

One Sunday afternoon last October, a lady came to the door, trying to get rid of a lost cockatiel, which had lit on her shoulder as she walked along. While we put a free “Found” ad in the local paper, we improvised a cage out of a large plastic milk crate, setting it upside down on the floor with newspapers under it. On Thursday, a lady called, and identified her bird that had been lost the previous Saturday. She said that it would say “You dirty bird!” We should have realized that it was not her bird, though we noticed that it never talked to us, but only whistled all day long, and did not hop onto her husband’s hand as he expected. But, in our desire to get rid of it, we chalked these down to nervousness on the bird’s part.

The next day, we got a call from a broken-hearted little boy whose cockatiel had also flown out the window on the previous Saturday. “Did he whistle all day long?” He asked.

The next day, I woke up feeling terrible about this mix-up, and praying about what we should do. By then, those people probably knew that this cockatiel was not their “Shorty”, but they weren’t likely to look at any more ads. What good could God bring out of this situation? What was He trying to tell me? It came to mind how angry Jonah was, after he had preached to the Ninevites and they had repented, and were not destroyed as he had hoped. Then God quickly raised up a vine to give him shade, and Jonah was angry again when a worm killed it the next day.

Jonah 4:10-11 – But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?”

If I was so concerned about a lost cockatiel getting into the wrong hands, think how much more concerned God is about the thousands of spiritually lost people in my city who don’t know Him, and are falling into the wrong hands. He cares about them much more than I do!

Earlier in the week, we had returned a lost cockatiel to its owner, only to discover that two cockatiels had been lost on the same day in our small town. As I agonized over the likelihood of the cockatiel being in the wrong home, I realized that I had no way of contacting either owner — we had taken down no telephone numbers. I poured out my distress to God, knowing that I had no way of controlling the situation, but that He was still in control.

After breakfast, the phone rang. It was the mother of the broken-hearted little boy who had been cheated out of his cockatiel. I explained the situation, took her phone number, and promised to contact her if I got any more information. I also found out that her cockatiel had no leg band, while the other owners had indicated that their cockatiel had one.

When I told my wife about this call, she told me that the other owners had said that they lived near a certain intersection in town. I decided that I would go looking for their truck. I parked near the intersection, and checked a back lane. When I returned to the car, I looked across the street, and the lady owner was coming out of her house with garbage. I rejoiced in this answer to prayer, as we greeted one another in recognition. I explained the situation, and asked them to show me the cockatiel’s leg band, which they did. It really was theirs!

I then called the mother and recounted the miraculous story. She was amazed that I had taken it so seriously. I told her that I was the minister of the local Presbyterian Church, and that this was God’s answer to my prayers. As she hung up, she said, “God bless you!” It’s unlikely that the cockatiel was ever found, but at least she was spared from the thought that it was unjustly living in the wrong home. I have no idea how God will use this miracle in her life, but I do know that He has a plan for her and her family. If He was so willing to answer my prayers about a little cockatiel, how much more is He concerned to answer our prayers about the eternal destiny of those around each one of us! How can we communicate that to them?

Matthew 6:26 – Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (NIV)

Copyright ©, by Robin Ross, first published on the PresbyCan Daily Devotional .
Mission, British Columbia, Canada


The Lost Cockatiel