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In the Net


A couple days ago I took a walk in my neighborhood and noticed a young starling sitting quietly on a post above me. To my surprise, he did not fly away as I neared. I noticed he was trapped inside a blueberry patch net—he had found a way in but didn’t seem to know the way out.

Still curious why he stayed motionless, I moved closer, opened the bottom portion of the net and called, thinking he could perhaps fly out. No response. He tried to flap but then I saw that in his frantic efforts to escape, he had completely enmeshed himself in a corner of the netting.

The only solution was to climb inside the enclosure and disentangle his body. Would I injure him in the process? Perhaps the fright of my nearness would finish him off, yet without my help, he would certainly die.

So I slipped under the net and started the process of unraveling the mess he was in. I kept a gentle but firm grip while working because if he got away, I could never catch him again, and all hope of escape would be lost.  He didn’t like my efforts; he struggled and squeaked and flapped.

I had difficulty freeing one wing, but finally I removed all the netting, yet he continued to fiercely cling with one talon to a wire. It seemed unthinkable to his little bird mind to let go and trust me. I had to pry his tiny foot off as well.

Holding him firmly in my hand, I ducked under the net and walked to a grassy lawn, but before I released him I petted his soft head, even if it scared him more. I was in such wonder at this little wild bird in my hand.

When I finally set him down, he hopped a little awkwardly at first, then quickly flew to some nearby tall grass. It looked like he would be all right!

Relieved, I continued my walk, happy I had helped one of God’s creatures. And I began thinking about the similarities between the starling and me…

I know what it’s like to get myself in a tight place, a place from which I can’t extract myself. It doesn’t help if someone points the way out—I’m too tangled up in my mess to do anything about my problem.

But it’s when I’m hopelessly stuck, when I’ve stopped the useless flapping around, when I’m at the end of myself, that hope of rescue approaches as God draws near.

And like that little bird I tend to struggle against Him even if He’s doing what’s best for me. Though God is working to free me, I don’t like what He has to do. It hurts, I fear He may break one of my wings, and I cling tenaciously to old footings for safety.

If only my little bird mind could see what God sees—that in my desperate situation He truly is my only hope.

Think about this: if I, a flawed human being, was happy to rescue an “insignificant” bird, how  much more God delights to come to our aid, we who are “worth more than many sparrows.”

  1. I knew there would be a lesson in there somewhere, Ruth! thanks for the reminder of God’s abilities!
    We just experienced our first encounters with blueberry netting last year. The year before the birds got a good number of the berries before my husband (procastinater) finally got netting up. Wow, is that stuff tangely. It takes 3 years for the bushes to mature enough to produce enough berries to call a crop.
    Last year, we trapped several birds. It was a joy to hold each little bird for just a few seconds. None were injured seriously, but two were ‘stunned’. We’re die-hard birders anyway, but seldom get to examine God’s creations that closely. I just wish the netting was better at keeping the birds out, than at trapping them. Robins will try and try again!
    Praise God from whom all nature comes.

    Comment by April — June 18, 2008 @ 8:41 am

  2. Beautiful post, Ruth

    Comment by Becoming Me — June 18, 2008 @ 12:16 pm

  3. Oh, what a lovely post, Ruth. This little creature became a lovely lesson for us all…that God not only sees our desperateness, but He longs to come to our aid. I’ll carry this in my heart for a long time.

    Comment by Vicki — June 18, 2008 @ 5:46 pm

  4. Ruth, also…did you know that Nancze from ‘I’m an Okie Gal’ had emergency surgery and spent 10 days in ICU? She’s home now but still recovering. I know she loves this blog and CC.

    Comment by Vicki — June 18, 2008 @ 5:48 pm

  5. Very insightful analogy and what a beautiful picture God used. God can help us more easily when we stop struggling against His efforts. Thanks Ruth

    Comment by Elvie — June 18, 2008 @ 8:35 pm

  6. Excellent post Ruth.I learn so much about myself and my walk with God by watching His birds and tending to His flowers.:-)
    Blessings from Salem~Sharon

    Comment by Sharon Goemaere — June 19, 2008 @ 7:25 pm

  7. Beautiful post, Ruth. I’m amazed at all the lessons I learn just from observing God’s creation.

    Comment by Daphne — June 25, 2008 @ 12:49 pm

  8. Ruth, beautiful blog. I can’t help but praise God for the truth revealed.

    I look forward to reading more!

    Joy in Jesus always,

    Comment by Shelley B. — July 3, 2008 @ 12:12 pm

  9. Ruth, I haven’t heard from you lately. I hope you are having a wonderful Summer observing more of God’s beautiful creation.

    Joy in Jesus to you,

    Comment by Shelley B. — July 30, 2008 @ 6:06 pm