Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Of Trees and Guineas

Adapted from a recent journal entry...

The past few days, the ground has been covered in snow with the temperatures plummeting into the single digits at night. We’ve kept our guineas in the giant seed house during the day, and tucked them their bungalow at bedtime. 

So this afternoon, the sun showed its face, and Dad decided to let the guineas out to enjoy a bit of fresh air. We were interested to see how they would take to their first encounter with snow. As he opened the door, they waddled to look out. Apparently, they were not impressed with earth’s new garb, and all fourteen of them took to the sky without setting one claw on the frigid turf. They landed in a tall tree across the fence, and perched there in the sunlight, looking like Christmas ornaments gracing its bare branches. 

We hoped that as the sun set, they would decide to fly back to their coop, but we hoped in vain. Knowing their dismal chance of survival against the talons of Mr. Owl and Jack Frost’s icy bite, we initiate Operation Guinea Rescue. How much easier it would have been had they flown down as Mom rattled their bowl of food, calling up to them from below. All they did was cackle back at her, beaks chattering in the cold. 

The heroes of the story (Alan and Kendall) scaled the tree, poky branches scratching hands and face. Dad took position at base camp, whilst Mom and I stood by on our side of the fence. 

One by one, the boys would grab the birds by their legs, flip them upside-down amidst frantically flailing wings, tie their feet with string, and let them down to Dad waiting below. He would bring them over to the fence, and while one of us pried it apart, the other would take the guinea from Dad and march it back to the seed house. It was a slow process. The sun set, the moon and stars came out, and we were still picking birds from the tree.

As I crunched through moon-lit snow, clutching shivering birds to my chest, I thought of how much I can be like a guinea. (trust me, this isn’t a new revelation) How foolish and dull… 

God will be standing at the mess of a tree I’ve gotten myself into, calling up to me. Even though I really want to just fly down, all I do is cackle. And He knows He must initiate Operation Aubrey Rescue. But unlike the guinea case, He doesn’t climb into the tree, tie me up by my feet, and let me down head first. No, that’s not what He does. 

Instead, He allows Himself to be nailed to a tree, lifted above the mess I find myself in. It’s a slow process. The sun sets…the moon and stars come out. I watch as they lower Him from that tree. All of a sudden, my tree doesn’t seem all that high and scary, and all this love comes pouring down on my head, and I can see…

How His tree makes my tree of no consequence

“And God takes the greatest evil ever known to humanity and turns it into the greatest gift you have ever known…What was intended to harm you, God intended it all for good, and no matter what intends to harm you, God’s arms have you.”  -The Greatest Gift p. 80-81

Those arms once nailed apart, bring me down from my tree, tightly clutch me all shivering to chest warmed by grace, and carry me home.