Lesson from a Bird…
A book that was very formative in the early days of my walk with the Lord was a Moody Press pocket paperback The Story of Sadhu Sundar Singh by Cyril J Davey.* I carried the book about with me often and read on the 25 minute bus trips to and from town. On the back was printed this quote:
“When we have left this life we will not have a second chance to bear the cross of Christ.” – Sadhu Sundar Singh
That quote affected me greatly, so much so that I can recite it now with ease decades later – and as those of you who know me can attest, memory these days is far from one of my strong points!
I thought of Sadhu Sundar Singh and this quote as I listened to Pastor Andrew’s message this morning. He spoke of how our suffering and Christ’s suffering are intimately connected. How through these we share in something profound and spiritual.**
Parents know this. They already love their children but something much deeper grows when they must watch them suffer, helpless to alleviate the child’s pain, despair, or questioning gaze. The parent suffers with the child in this and can do none other. Years later the scene may be reversed. Aged parent now suffers as the caregiver child now agonizes with them. They are both made of like substance but in this suffering that union grows deeper.
It is a privilege to share in like suffering. Choosing it is our greatest gift. Jesus once said this, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13). Singh’s quote above reminds us that it is only now, in this life, that we have such privilege to gift Christ by our patient suffering, perhaps even our life.
On such suffering Singh relates this,
“In a Tibetan village I noticed a crowd of people standing under a burning tree and looking up into the branches. I came near and discovered in the branches a bird which was anxiously flying round a nest full of young ones. The mother bird wanted to save her little ones, but she could not. When the fire reached the nest the people waited breathlessly to see what she would do. No one could climb the tree, no one could help her. Now she could easily have saved her own life by flight, but instead of fleeing she sat down on the nest, covering the little ones carefully with her wings. The fire seized her and burnt her to ashes. She showed her love to her little ones by giving her life for them. If then, this little insignificant creature had such love, how much more must our Heavenly Father love His children, the Creator love His creatures!”
Today Christ agonizes for the lost. “Why does He not do something to save them?” someone may ask. Ah, but He has! He has sent someone to them; He has sent them us.
To hear Pastor Andrew’s complete message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Jan. 18 message.
*To watch a 42 minute dramatization of the life of Sadhu Sundar Singh, click here.
**e.g. Never was New York more united than in the days, weeks, and months following 9/11.