Thursday, March 15, 2018

"Lord, Don't You Care?"

Luke 10:40-42 NIV

“But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’

“‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I was in third grade living in Park Forest, Illinois. My mother gave me wonderful news. A robin built a nest in the arborvitae tree next to our front door. I hurried out to behold three beautiful, tiny, delicate turquoise eggs in the center of a perfectly constructed nest about five feet off the ground. I was ecstatic. I loved animals and was an avid collector of salamanders, crayfish, butterflies, and snakes. I had hamsters and chameleons and parakeets. I would now behold the wonder of nature in my own front yard. I marveled at mama robin’s frenetic flights and was filled with anticipation for the day of hatching. My brother and I shared the good news with the neighborhood children. Everyone was excited.

One day after school I was horrified to see a neighbor boy walking away with the nest and its eggs! I was outraged but had no time to vent my fury. My little brother had witnessed the same injustice and, charged with unthinking emotion, grabbed the boy from behind. The startled nest thief lurched forward spilling the precious contents. All three eggs smashed against the sidewalk. I felt utter devastation and cried inconsolably. The hardest part was watching mama robin flit back and forth around the arborvitae and finally leave. I wondered if she was as heartbroken as me.

Since the robin incident, I have witnessed a host of injustices I tried to expose, wrongs I sought to make right, and duties I forced myself to fulfill. Like Martha in the midst of her preparations, I have been “worried and upset about many things,” often wondering why others appeared apathetic toward causes I deemed so worthy. I have even accused God with the prayer of Martha, “Lord, don’t You care?”

While it is comforting to know Jesus loves even helpless birds and promised, “Not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father” or “is forgotten before God” (Matthew 10.29; Luke 12.6), I sometimes wonder why any innocent creature must fall to the ground at all. 

When I visualize the boy sneaking away with my treasured robin’s nest, I feel a deep sense of loss and injustice. It still hurts, fifty-seven years later. It was an early lesson in grief that would re-visit me many times throughout my life. I have never 'gotten over' any loss. Rather, I absorbed my sorrows. Disappointment, hurt, regret, sadness, and mourning have become a defining part of who I am. The best question I can answer for myself is not, “How do I overcome or get past my grief?” but rather, “What can I learn from my grief?”

1 comment:

Gregg said...

It is an amazing thing knowing that God knows when every bird falls to the ground.

I cringe when my cat nabs a bird. Then I stop to think that my cat, Theophilus is simply glorifying God by doing what God created cats to do.

Good post. I will be back.