The Startled Starling

by | May 24, 2004 | Freedom, Salvation

Victoria Day weekend had finally arrived. This Canadian holiday, on the third Monday in May, is always welcomed with open arms by teachers and students alike, for it marks the first holiday weekend after Easter, and also the last holiday weekend before summer vacation. It is also the holiday weekend when Canadians first feel it is safe enough from late frost to plant annuals, and what’s more, it always marks the first camping of the season. In general, it serves as a well-deserved break for everyone, from all the arduous hard work.

Not to be left out, my family and I were heading out for some last-minute fun. We had reserved a room in a Farm and Breakfast in Fergus, Ontario. We hadn’t told our boys what our plans were. They only knew that we were going “on a drive”, and as a result, the long road north was filled with excitement and eager anticipation. It was a beautiful day for a drive too. Though it wasn’t too hot, it was one of the first warm, sunny days of Spring, and we shared our road with numerous other cars. Hopefully they weren’t all heading to the same Farm and Breakfast!

As I was driving in the fast lane (my favorite spot on the highway), I noticed something unusual ahead of me. There was some kind of creature desperately wandering around in the emergency lane to my left. As I approached this unexpected sight, I discovered a poor starling, hopelessly cornered on the island separating the northbound traffic from the southbound. On one side it found a tall, concrete divide, and on the other side, numerous fast-paced cars. Though it tried desperately to make its way out of this mess, it was greeted with nothing but unsuccessful attempts.

“How did it get there?” I wondered aloud, and then my imagination began to concoct a possible story. Maybe it had been attracted there by a morsel of food thrown out by one of the speeding vehicles. Perhaps it had recognized the brand of one of our fast-food restaurants, like a McDonalds or a Wendy’s, or one of the many others that I don’t have space to list. Overcome by temptation, it had landed in a hostile environment, and there didn’t seem to be any way of escape without harm.

I could just imagine it savoring that tasteful, greasy, high-cholesterol piece of food and then searching for more. Only much later had it realized that there was no way out of this hopeless situation. Trying desperately to get up enough momentum to fly high enough to avoid those monstrous steel squares zooming by, the starling started jumping up and down. But it was to no avail. Escape seemed possible. Death was hungrily luring the poor bird, attempting to grasp it in its teeth.

How often don’t we fall into similar scenarios? We may be lured in by lust, covetousness, greed, unhealthy pleasures or _________ (I let you fill the blank. I am out of words!). No matter what the temptation may be, it grabs our attention and before we know it, we are overcome by an obsessive preoccupation. All other thoughts mysteriously disappear, and we find ourselves contemplating that forbidden morsel with a ravenous appetite and no thought of future consequences. Off we go to enjoy the temporary forbidden morsel of self-satisfaction.

No matter how sweet it is to our taste, however, it soon becomes bitter and we find ourselves choking. We are filled with guilt, and it doesn’t take long for the horrible consequences to look us straight in the eye. No escape is possible, for the temptation turns into a vice, an addiction which will imprison us for life.

“Why did I even notice that morsel of self-destruction?” You ask yourself.

Because, left to our own devices, we eventually face an unfulfilled, broken life, followed by eternal death. There is Someone, however, who can help us break free from our addictions. He doesn’t always promise to shield us from the consequences of our choices, but He does promise to liberate us and to stand by us as we go through any ensuing tough times.

“That sounds REALLY good!” You cry. “Who might this person be?”

He is the One who helped me break free from a prison that was leading me through an inevitably shattered life, straight to hell. His name is Jesus. Not only did He help me break free, but He has also become my closest friend. He wants to be YOUR friend as well. He wants YOU to experience His victory. He wants YOU to enjoy a life free from addictions. The choice is yours to make.

“Oh look at that delicious morsel! Ummmmm!”

“If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36 NIV)

“You have been set free from sin…” (Rom 6:18 NIV)

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” (Gal 5:1 NIV)

“He came and set his people free. He set the power of salvation in the center of our lives.” (Luke 1:68-69 THE MESSAGE)

Not only did Jesus come to bring salvation, He also came to set you free!

Rob Chaffart


The Startled Starling