Lessons From a Failed Flight

I saw the small bird out of the corner of my eye as we pulled into the driveway. It was laying at the foot our evergreen tree surrounded by my overgrown lawn with its mouth gaping so wide-open that it could’ve swallowed a golf ball. Based upon the fact that a petite, yet sturdily constructed nest remained in the tree above, I concluded that this was most likely the result of a failed flight attempt.

My first thought was to try and figure out a way to put him back in the nest. The bird’s vulnerability out in the open made me nervous for its safety. As I looked around, I spotted its parent perched on the corner of the neighbor’s metal gutter with a beak full of worms, waiting for me disappear so it could deliver the food to its awkwardly positioned baby. I knew I shouldn’t interfere, so I backed off and went inside.

After putting my things down, I couldn’t help but peak out my son’s bedroom window to watch the bird be fed. As I looked on, the adult bird swooped down and placed the worms it had collected into baby’s mouth, which was still as open as it was when I discovered it. Watching this happen time and time again during the course of about a week caused me to draw parallels to our relationship with our caring and faithful God.

When we initially noticed the almost naked bird, I found myself tempted to blame the bird for jumping before it was ready, but how often do we do the same thing? I mean, there is after all something to be said about taking a leap even if you weren’t quite ready. The potential dangers on the ground are real, but so are the ones that come from just sitting in the nest. Either way, it makes it easier to leap when you know someone is there to sustain you, even if you hit the ground with a jarring thud.

The thing that stood out to me most was the baby’s response to its situation. I’m sure it was scared. Stirred from the shelter of its warm nest, completely vulnerable, and unable to help itself, its wings and legs still too under-developed to shift into a less exposed position, the bird knew how to do only one thing: Trust.

All it had was a cry and a confidence that when it opened its mouth, provision and sustenance would come. All it knew to do is the same thing it did when it was in the nest. It instinctively knew if it just sat still with his mouth open that it would receive the necessary nourishment just like it always had.

Over the next week, I would find the little bird further and further from its original landing spot. As its strength increased, so did its distance from our yard until finally, it was gone. I would like to think it’s the same bird I’m watching soar above me even as I write this. Its caretaker never wavered in its diligence to see to it that the baby was growing and fed continuously. The parent never quit on it just because it had a failed flight attempt.

If you’ve ever taken a risk and jumped only to hit the ground like a rock, you aren’t alone. Just because you had a failed flight attempt doesn’t mean you will never fly. Just because you failed to soar doesn’t mean you aren’t a bird. You are a bird. You will fly when it’s time. Just stay put, cry out, open up and receive. Nourishment will come. You’re Father knows where you are. Be still and know.

Psalm 46:10-11 AMP
“Be still and know (recognize, understand) that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold [our refuge, our high tower].

Isaiah 40:31 NLT
But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.