by | May 23, 2005 | Sacrifice, Salvation

As I started down the steps of the animal hospital, I could no longer restrain my tears.

“Why?” screamed my head. “Why are you crying over a little bird? You should be thankful that it’s not one of your children you just admitted to hospital!”

Good point, but the tears continued, and in my heart, I knew why.

Hatched just three days before Christmas, we could immediately tell by the pink spots under her skin where the eyes would open that this Lineolated Parakeet would be an unusual mutation, an albino, one that is known in the bird world as “Creamino”. Because of this, along with the upcoming Christmas season, we named her Angel. We had no way of knowing at that time just what a little angel she would grow to be.

I took Angel out of the nest at 17 days. I handled her regularly, conditioning her to the human touch and voice, teaching her to step-up on my finger, to not bite, to fly to me; and, naturally, I spoon-fed her baby bird formula every four hours, even through the night. The work paid off. Now, eight weeks later, this particular little girl was the sweetest baby we had ever raised. Yes, even my head would have to acknowledge that I had, indeed, just admitted on of my “children” to hospital!

“But this is SO silly!” my head continued to insist. “You KNOW she will get good care here! This is her only chance left for survival! Stop your blubbering!”

It was all too true. Angel was now under the care of three certified avian veterinarians and their able assistants. She couldn’t have been in better hands, but my heart wouldn’t let it go: “This is MY baby,” it screamed, “my little girl who thrives on being loved and petted and cuddled! Who will give her the love she needs to survive here in this cold, dark building?” And the tears continued to flow.

As I turned around the corner of the building, gusting, icy blasts of artic air froze the tears on my cheeks, stinging my wet eyes and causing my feet to shuffle into a run. What a relief to finally be inside my car! But now what? The 90 minute drive back home without my baby? My head was barely able to restrain my heart from going right back into the animal hospital, just to cuddle her one more time, to whisper to her that things would be okay. I started to pray instead, thanking God for His healing touch upon my baby bird. As I did so, I felt deep in my gut that I wasn’t praying according to God’s will! I hushed and just listened for a few seconds. Nothing. Finally I whispered, “Lord, how would YOU have me to pray?” Immediately the words flowed from my mouth: “Father God, wrap your hand of comfort and mercy around little Angel! Hold her tightly against Your breast, so that she can feel the warmth and comfort that she would have known snuggled into my hair! Be her comfort, her warmth, her strength!”

I immediately felt better, and my head maintained control over my heart for the rest of the day. Whenever thoughts of Angel came back to my mind, I just kept repeating that prayer.

That evening, I received a call from one of the veterinarians at the clinic. Angel wasn’t expected to live through the night. I had already prepared myself for this possibility, nevertheless, the thought of my poor baby dying there in that dark building all by herself made tears bubbled up into my eyes again.

“She’s such a sweet thing!” the veterinarian continued.

This was no news to me, but it was comforting to know that others thought so, too.

“The veterinary assistant who’s been caring for her has become quite attached to her!”

My ears pricked up here. “Really?”

“She’s been with Angel much of the afternoon, just cuddling her!”

It was as if a huge weight rolled off my chest, but it wasn’t until I’d hung up the phone that I realized what had just happened: God had indeed put out His hand to comfort my little Angel! He sent a wonderful veterinary assistant to do what I couldn’t do!

Angel didn’t make it through the night, and we continue to grieve her loss. As a result of her death however, we were able to discover the presence of an avian intestinal infection that was lying dormant in our aviary, one that primarily affects baby birds. We were able to treat the rest of the birds before they passed it on to other babies, and thus, because one tiny Angel sacrificed her life, any future babies we raise will be safe. She might have only lived for eight short weeks, but her little life was not lived in vain!

Someone else I know sacrificed His life so that all of humanity could live. “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people.” (Heb. 9:27-28 NIV) Please don’t let Jesus’ sacrifice to you be in vain!

Lyn Chaffart