Once upon a time, we had a pair of lovebirds.
Their cage hung outside on the balcony during the day. One afternoon, I happened upon a snake in the cage.
It was nearly 3' long, coiled and working its way up. The birds were silently glowering at it from the highest corner they could squeeze into. I wisely froze and screamed "no! no!" Jeremy (my son) came to the rescue (paramedics are good at this, you know). He shook the cage and the snake flew out. It was beaten to death posthaste with a broom.
But that's not what I want to write about…
The cage always came in at night (remember the snake?) If we waited until dark to get it, the birds would already be holed up in their little hollowed out log. If you looked carefully, you could usually see two sets of tail feathers.
But one morning, I put the cage out and… only one bird. The male was gone. Check inside the log... empty. Re-focus my eyes, find my glasses... concentrate... only one bird. One of the little doors had been left open or forced open from the inside. Out all night… gone.
They were such a great couple, hilarious to watch them bathe together, shred together, destroy together… our WMD’s. It would never be the same... so sad.
But wait... I hear something... out on the back terrace... I think I hear him! Yeah right... I'm hard of hearing and I can pick out the lovebird's voice from the ruckus of the jungle around me... I am an idiot... back in the house.
Minutes later... chirp chirp... he is sitting on top of the cage on the balcony, eyeball to eyeball with his lady friend inside. Unreal... he hung around... and he wants back in.
Now what? Sliding doors open, I grab the cage and slowly try to back into the living room with the bird still on top. Nervous hands... rats, he flew to the trees in front. End of story, for sure.
We hung the cage back out on the balcony. The conversation between the two birds continued to be, shall we say, animated. It might have been fun to have an interpreter. Then again, judging by the tone of voice from inside the cage, we might have had to send the kids to another room.
Ok, more unreal than the first unreal: a few minutes later he was back on top of his cage. This time, Jeremy, Rebekah and Greg convened a strategy session. Greg held the net, Jeremy slowly grabbed the cage, and Rebekah snuck her way around from behind to close the sliding door as soon as we got the cage inside.
This time it worked. But why were we not happy yet? How do you cage an uncaged bird inside your house?
Jeremy got him to hop on a stick from on top of the TV to the opening for the cage. And then the stupid bird flew… to the water cooler... back to the cage... back to the water cooler... to the kitchen cabinets.
By now, we had two nets. We finally trapped him in a corner. His only move was into Jeremy’s net… finally! But, the little bugger bit the fire out of Jeremy's hand all the way to the cage.
About 45 seconds after the door closed behind him, he was eating, cleaning and making out with his lady friend again. I don't think I would have heard "thank you", even if I knew how to talk lovebird.
I am guessing that he learned nothing from the experience. If he had found another opening, the dummy would have flown away again. We ramped up our cage security program after that.
This is purposely not precise nor meant to be controversial. But I think that the way I ended up in Christ is better portrayed by our netting of a lovebird than by a story about how I made a decision to be saved.
I didn't come to the party; I was brought.
Not kicking and screaming as if I did not want to come. Linda was already inside. I could see her, I could smell the food, and I was really hungry. But I would never have gotten in without a lot of help. Plus, it comes as a relief to know that escaping depends on who is guarding the door, not on silly birds that think they want to leave.
I am pretty sure that this is not how theologians of bygone eras would have approached the subject. But something about getting a lovebird back in its cage reminded me of what they might have called... irresistible grace.
"to what else can this be ascribed, but to unfrustrable and insuperable grace? but though this act of drawing is an act of power, yet not of force; God in drawing of unwilling, makes willing in the day of his power: he enlightens the understanding, bends the will, gives an heart of flesh, sweetly allures by the power of his grace, and engages the soul to come to Christ, and give up itself to him; he draws with the bands of love."
"And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must
bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. John 10:16
Yes...! As of July 5, 2020, my book is now available on Amazon.com.
It's a new book about an old problem: the cross and the crown… the Gospel and politics… do they mix? Should they mix?
If my words generate some reflection and healthy conversation—as in more light and less heat—I will be satisfied.
For feedback or questions, feel free to use the email link below.
Greg grew up in Menomonee Falls, WI. His ministry began in 1976: 5 years in Central America, 37 in Mexico. Church planting and discipleship have been his passion.
"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." -Matthew 13:44
GREG'S other BLOG
Concise devotions in Spanish and English, along with some lengthier essays… Designed for personal spiritual growth and to help anyone studying English or Spanish as a second language to improve their skills… Rev 14:6