Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sorrow for Sparrows

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God.
Luke 12:6

The newly melted snow uncovered a dead bird in our backyard yesterday--the boys' first face-to-face encounter with the sadness of death. Quietly they crouched and observed the stillness of our little feathered friend.  I found the moment appropriate to mention Jesus' teaching that not even a sparrow falls to ground without our Heavenly Father knowing about it; that God knows all about even the little sparrows and determines when their time is to "go". Their little minds worked to process why and how this one died but were mostly just sad for the little birdie.

Full of faith, Lion concluded, "We can pray for it and bring it inside and care for it to bring it back to life..." Not wanting to crush his sweet heart I gently explained that in this world, when a creature dies, it's body stays dead, but that's why we love Jesus because He made a way for life after death.  Lion began to weep and expressed, "I'm just so sad about death." I picked him up and told him that it was okay to be sad, that I was too.  Bear's sad eyes looked up from his observation of the bird and humbly asked, "will you pray?" So together we prayed a little eulogy for the bird and I thanked God for loving us even more than the sparrows, for the bird's song, and for Jesus who came to make an end to forever death.

Quietly we sat, holding each other while the boys observed and again Lion heavily wept about the sadness of death. I empathized with him while speaking relevant words of scripture, like how all creation has been made subject to death because of sin, that creation groans as we wait for Jesus to come make all things new. As Lion processed, he lamented that "death is just everywhere, it's so sad."

As Bear remained in quiet observation, Lion got up and walked across the yard to the gazebo for some time to himself.  He wandered around in the mud of our winter-killed garden; vines bare, plants brown and crushed by the months of snow...and then excitedly came running back.

"Mom! I have the BEST news after this bad death news: I found signs of LIFE! Come see!" We
 hurried across to the corner of the yard to find the very first sprouts of green emerging from the mud. Lion was inspired, "we will call this the 'Garden of Salvation' where we can come when we're sad about death and see life to wipe our tears away..."

Lion's heart was lifted and mine was filled. We walked around the yard, talked about telling daddy when he got home, and made arrangements for birdie's burial.  Lion ran inside to get a little box and he and Bear filled it with leaves "to make it comfy". Shortly afterward, Todd came home and the boys spoke a mile a minute to explain what they discovered.  Todd prepared for "a proper burial" and Lion objected: "you can't put him in our Garden of Salvation because it's only a place for life; no death can come there." So Todd dug a place under an evergreen tree opposite the garden and placed a rock there for us to remember our birdie teacher.

Lion was excited to show Todd the green sprigs in the garden, and there he said, "whenever we see green, whoever is sad can pray.  If you don't come to the garden to pray when you're sad, your heart will be like a stone.  Daddy, are you sad about the bird? Then you can pray." Lion knelt and Bear stood by the sprigs while Todd prayed a beautiful prayer of thanks for our hope in Jesus, and for His death and resurrection that brought us life. 

After dinner, we went out in the spring rain to find raspberry, blueberry, and blackberry bushes to plant in our garden.

Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.  For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.  Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.  For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.  We were given this hope when we were saved. 
Romans 8:18-24

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life.  All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.
Revelation 21:3-7