I was sitting by a pond in the Illinois suburb, where my sweetheart and I were visiting family. I had found a comfortable spot in the shade to read my Bible for my Daniel and Revelation distance learning class. All of a sudden, I noticed something flapping around wildly down by shore.
As I looked closer, I saw a bird with his foot tangled in a fishing line. This robin had been snagged by the line, which was now wrapped tightly around a small leafless bush by the water’s edge.
I continued watching, and it seemed with all the robin’s effort, he would soon be free. After a few moments, I realized that the more this little bird struggled, trying to free himself, the tighter the line was wrapping around his leg. His wings were catching on the sticks of the bush. He kept making crash landings into the dusty ground as the nylon thread yanked him down. He was bleeding and bruised.
I wondered if anyone would help the stuck little bird. There were ducks swimming playfully nearby. Their loud quacks made them oblivious to their fellow bird’s predicament. A blue heron was strutting his stuff just a few feet away. He majestically lifted his spindly legs out of the water one after the other. His long pointed beak had the power to rescue the perishing robin. Maybe he just wasn’t willing, or maybe he was so focused on his own fishing trip that he remained unaware of the captive robin’s suffering.
A tree near the shore was peppered with a flock of blackbirds, who had come to watch the show. The longer the robin wrestled, the more the tree above darkened as black feathers covered its branches. There were a few large crows in the mix, cawing piercingly. It seemed they led the blackbirds in taunting the robin: “Come on, little bird! What’s the matter? You stuck? You too weak? That bush got the best of you?” They cackled at their own jokes. They thought themselves so clever. I wondered if they were merely waiting for the robin to die of exhaustion, so they could feast on his remains.
When I moved in closer to help him, the robin thrashed around wildly, struggling even harder to escape. The tree above us squawked even louder at the spectacle, thinking I’d steal their lunch.
I spoke softly to the robin trying to convince him I wanted to save him. He refused to listen. Finally, using a bit of wood, I set the little bird free.
He was ungrateful. His first act as a free bird wasn’t to give thanks but to hobble away up the hill to hide in a large bush.
Do we act the same way when One bigger and wiser, who cares about us deeply, comes to our rescue? Do we kick, scream and fight away? As breakers of God’s Law, we are in bondage to sin that’s too strong for us to break. Only the Lord Jesus, who shed His Blood on the cross, is strong enough to save. He rose from the dead. He’s able, and He wants our good.
Are you an oblivious duck, a self-focused heron, a pliable blackbird or a mocking crow? Do you rescue those in bondage with the message of freedom in Jesus? Are we in the business of breaking chains? Are you still trapped? You’d be surprised. All it takes is surrendered stillness to the only One strong enough to break the line.